I’ve been waiting for this moment since the National Weather Service issued its list of hurricane names for the year. After years of never being able to buy anything with my name on it (it’s always spelled hannah and mine doesn’t have the h on the end), I finally have retribution! So I’m hoping the hurricane doesn’t do a lot of damage and that my name isn’t cursed for eternity (like Katrina)….but it’s still pretty cool to have something named after myself 🙂
The hurricane also threatened to hit the southeast United States later in the week.
Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Ike was headed toward the Caribbean and another tropical depression emerged as a new threat in the Atlantic, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.
Hanna, with maximum sustained winds near 80 mph, lingered for much of Monday near Mayaguana and nearby islands in the southeast Bahamas.
There were no immediate reports of injuries or major damage, but emergency teams were standing by and would begin assessing the situation once the storm has cleared, said Stephen Russell, interim director of the Bahamas National Emergency Management Agency.
“I’m quite certain there is going to be damage, particularly in Mayaguana,” he said.
Hanna also was bringing strong winds, heavy rain and pounding surf to nearby islands, including Inagua and Crooked Island, and Turks and Caicos Islands to the south.
“Right now, the uncertainty is such that it could hit anywhere from Miami to the outer banks of North Carolina,” said Jessica Schauer Clark, a meteorologist at the U.S. National Hurricane Center. “So people really need to keep an eye on it.”
Ike was approaching behind Hanna with maximum sustained winds near 50 mph (85 kph). Ike was centered about 1,235 miles (1,985 kilometers) east of the Leeward Islands and moving west near 15 mph (24 kph) early Tuesday. The tropical storm was expected to gain strength over the next two days.
And behind Ike, a new tropical depression formed early Tuesday with maximum sustained winds near 35 mph. The depression was forecast to strengthen and the hurricane center said it would likely become a tropical storm later in the day. The depression was centered about 170 miles south-southeast of the southernmost Cape Verde Islands off the coast of Africa.
NASA was not taking any chances — it announced a delay of at least a day in the planned move of the space shuttle Atlantis from an assembly building at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center to the launch pad. The move had been scheduled for Tuesday in preparation for an October mission to the Hubble Space Telescope.
Florida state officials also were keeping nervous watch on Hanna and the weather behind it, careful not to overextend the assistance it provides to other Gulf Coast states dealing with Gustav.
“The storm’s on top of us right now and it’s blowing really hard,” said Miguel Campbell, a mechanic with the Bahamas Electricity Corp. on Mayaguana, where some 300 people were hunkered down.
Hanna’s winds and rain reached all the way to Haiti, where thousands remain homeless in the wake of Gustav, which was downgraded to a tropical depression as it moved over Louisiana early Tuesday.
In Puerto Rico, authorities said one man from Colombia was killed and a woman from Brazil was missing after they were swept away in a river swollen with rain from Hanna. The two were students at the University of Puerto Rico on a trip to the island’s east.
The European Union said Monday it would give $2.9 million to help the recovery from Gustav, which killed 94 people. The money will pay for clean water, food, medical care, shelter and basic household items in Haiti, Cuba, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic. In Haiti, 8,000 people are in temporary housing after high winds and floods destroyed homes and farms.