Hurricane Hanna was the eighth named storm and fourth hurricane of the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season. Hanna developed on August 28 in the central Atlantic to the east of the Leeward Islands. Hanna made a loop to the north of the Turks & Caicos, where it briefly attained minimal hurricane status. During this time of slow movement, Hanna, though relatively weak, produced copious amounts of rain across portions of Haiti, a country already devastated by Hurricane Gustav. Hanna's rains killed over 500 people on the island. Hanna then went on to strike the Bahamas and North Carolina as a tropical storm.

Hanna killed over 532 people and caused $160,000,000 (2008 USD) in damage.

Hanna at peak intensity
FormationAugust 28, 2008
Dissipation September 7, 2008
Highest winds 85 mph
Lowest pressure 977 mbar
Deaths >532 direct, 5 indirect
Damages $160,000,000 (2008 USD)
Areas affectedPuerto Rico, Haiti, Turks & Caicos Islands, Bahamas, East Coast of the United States, Atlantic Canada
Part of the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season

Meteorological history


The origins of Hanna can be identified as a tropical wave which left the coast of Africa on August 19. As the wave moved westward across the tropical Atlantic, convection gradually increased along the wave, and it generated a low-pressure area around 475 miles east-northeast of the northern Leeward Islands. The wave continued to organize, becoming a tropical depression by 00:00 UTC August 28 while located around 275 miles east-northeast of the northern Leeward Islands. The depression became a tropical storm 12 hours later, with the overall organization of the system continuing to improve. Later that day, however, strong westerly vertical shear disrupted the strengthening process, exposing Hanna's circulation to the west of the deep convection; this shear was caused by an upper-level low to the northwest of the storm. In spite of the shear, Hanna was able to strengthen somewhat as it continued west-northwest. While located several hundred miles north of Puerto Rico, Hanna passed close enough to the aforementioned upper low so that the satellite signature looked subtropical, rather than tropical. However, the upper low moved southward and weakened the next day, which lowered the vertical shearing over Hanna. Around 00:00 UTC September 1, Hanna began to generate deep convection over its center. This continued overnight and into the next morning, when Hanna underwent a period of rapid intensification. During this time, a developing ridge over the eastern United States turned Hanna to the southwest with a decrease in forward speed. By 18:00 UTC September 1, reconnaissance aircraft indicated that Hanna attained hurricane status while located just north of the Turks and Caicos Islands. By 00:00 UTC September 2, Hanna reached its peak intensity of 85 mph while located over the Providenciales in the Caicos Islands.

This intensification was short-lived, however, and Hanna began to weaken again, due to northerly shear on the eastern side of the aforementioned ridge. By 12:00 UTC that day, Hanna had weakened to a tropical storm. Hanna moved west-southwestward during its time of rapid weakening, and it passed very Great Inagua Island in the southeastern Bahamas. Later that day, Hanna turned southeastward and passed less than 30 miles north of Haiti early on September 3. Later that day, Hanna began to interact with an upper-level low over the Bahamas and once again began to resemble a subtropical cyclone. Hanna subsequently turned northward and began to restrengthen as it moved across Middle Caicos Island shortly after 18:00 UTC September 3. Hanna completed a counter-clockwise loop and began moving to the northwest when a ridge built over the western Atlantic. Over the next 24-36 hours, Hanna's intensity remained relatively constant at 65 to 70 mph while it passed just east of the central and northwestern Bahamas. By September 5, Hanna had detached from the Bahamian upper-level low and had rounded the western periphery of the subtropical ridge. Hanna consequently began moving northward with acceleration, passing about 150 miles east of the coast of northern Florida. Hanna continued accelerating northward and made landfall near the South Carolina/North Carolina border as a 70 mph tropical storm, just under hurricane intensity at 07:20 UTC September 6.

After moving inland, Hanna began to weaken while moving across the Mid-Atlantic. Hanna turned northeastward and its center passed very close to New York City shortly after 0000 UTC September 7. Shortly thereafter, Hanna became extratropical after merging with a cold front over southern New England. Hanna's extratropical remnants continued northeastward toward the Canadian Maritimes. On the afternoon of September 7, Hanna's extratropical low moved across Nova Scotia before turning to the east-northeast and across southern Newfoundland early on September 8. After emerging from Atlantic Canada just east-northeast of St. John's, Newfoundland, the low-level circulation became ill-defined as it merged with a second frontal zone. Shortly thereafter, another low, which may have contained a portion of Hanna developed along the front and became a very vigorous extratropical system over the northern Atlantic.


Turks and Caicos

Streets were cleared in the Turks and Caicos Islands, and schools and airports were closed. In addition, transportation on and off the island was temporarily halted.


In Florida, NASA announced that the movement of the Space Shuttle Atlantis to the launchpad for Flight STS-125 from the Kennedy Space Center would be postponed a day due to Hanna. In addition to this, Amtrak also canceled some train routes that ran through the southeastern United States.

North Carolina and Virginia

In North Carolina, the University of North Carolina at Wilmington canceled all classes and activities on September 5 and 6 due to the threat of Hanna, and also issued a voluntary evacuation.

Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia canceled all classes and activities on September 5 and 6 and issued a mandatory evacuation due to the threat of power outages from the storm. The College of William & Mary and Old Dominion University, however, did not take a similar course of action, despite the threat from Hanna. Old Dominion University and the nearby school Norfolk State University canceled classes on the afternoon of September 5 and 6. Two other Hampton Roads schools, Regent University and Virginia Wesleyan College, did not close on September 5, but the former closed on September 6, and the latter canceled classes that same day, but otherwise remained open.

On September 5, NASCAR stated that they were going to postpone the NASCAR Nationwide Series Emerson Radio 250 the next day's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Chevy Rock and Roll 400 until the afternoon of September 7, by which time Hanna was forecast to be north of Virginia.

On September 6, the US Open tennis tournament continued due to a lag in the storm's conditions reaching the area, but later that day was canceled due to the arrival of heavy rains. At nearby Shea Stadium, the baseball game between the New York Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies was canceled due to Hanna, and was promptly rescheduled as a day-night doubleheader on September 7.

New York

Power companies in Long Island, New York were fully prepared for the first real test of New York's readiness for a strong storm impacting the region. In Nassau, phone calls were made to volunteer fire departments. At the same time, however, calls were being made to 193,000 residences regarding the West Nile Virus, which slowed done phone connections. Over 800 workers were on standby in preparation for the storm.


Turks and Caicos and Bahamas

On September 1, heavy rainfall and strong winds began overspreading the Turks and Caicos Islands and the adjacent Bahamas. Hanna produced flooding in low-lying areas, and the popular tourist destination of Providenciales experienced significant flooding in neighborhoods such as Kew Town, Five Cays and Blue Hills. In addition, a medical clinic on Grand Turk Island sustained roof damage.

Overall, however, damage in these areas was relatively minor, and there were no deaths.


An area already reeling from the impacts of Fay and Gustav, the poor Caribbean island nation of Haiti experienced days of heavy rainfall from Hanna, which at one point passed less than 30 miles from the northern shore of the country. The capital city of Gonaives was hit hard by flash flooding caused by Hanna's torrential rainfall. Nearly the entire city was flooded with water as high as 6 feet in some areas; some residents had to be rescued on their roofs. In Les Cayes, a hospital was forced to evacuate when floodwaters began inundating it, with at least 5,000 people within the hospital being forced to relocate to storm shelters. aak

United States

Hanna produced rip currents along the southeastern United States, drowning a 14 year old boy at John U. Lloyd Beach State Park near Hollywood, Florida. In addition, two more drowning deaths were reported offshore Fort Lauderdale. Hanna also spawned tornadoes near Greenville, North Carolina and Allentown, Pennsylvania. At 11 PM EDT September 6, Hanna passed just south of New York City, though most of the damage in the city was rain-related. A 38 year old man drowned in New Jersey due to rip currents caused by Hanna. Hanna knocked out electricity to around 38,000 people in Long Island as it moved through the area on September 6.


  • Flooding at Eno River State Park in North Carolina.


  • Street flooding in Westchester County, New York.


  • Rainfall totals in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Hanna.


  • Rainfall totals in the United States from Hurricane Hanna.

Lack of Retirement

Despite the extreme loss of life, the name Hanna was not retired in the Spring of 2009 by the World Meteorological Organization. It is on the list of names to be used for the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season.

See also


External links

2008 Atlantic hurricane season

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