Get ready to batten down the hatches in September

Published 7:38 pm Friday, August 29, 2008

By Staff
Storm activity is heating up in the Atlantic
Contributing Editor
With two tropical storms and three tropical waves in the Atlantic Ocean, the U.S. East Coast could have an interesting encounter
weather-wise next week, according to a spokesman with the National Weather Service.
Willis noted that September begins Monday.
Tropical storms Gustav and Hanna are churning their ways toward the U.S. Atlantic coastline. The three tropical waves are in the eastern Atlantic off the coast of west Africa, Willis said.
Asked if the presence of two tropical storms and three tropical waves in the Atlantic indicated the 2008 hurricane season is experiencing more storms than usual, Willis said that forecasters that predict hurricane and tropical storm activity are “expecting it to be above average.”
Tropical storms Gustav and Hanna, plus the three tropical waves, “are definitely keeping us aware” of what is happening in the Atlantic, Willis said.
There’s a small chance Tropical Storm Hanna could send large ocean waves and large ocean swells to waters off the North Carolina coast early next week, Willis said.
According to a National Weather Service advisory issued Thursday afternoon, forecasters were calling for Tropical Storm Hanna to become a hurricane this weekend. On Thursday, Hanna was located about 260 miles northeast of the Northern Leeward Islands. Thursday afternoon, forecasters said Tropical Storm Gustav could become a hurricane by today. Gustav was located about 15 miles east-northeast of Kingston, Jamaica, on Thursday evening.
During the past several days, parts of North Carolina have received heavy rainfall associated with the remnants of Tropical Storm Fay. On Thursday, those remnants crossed over eastern North Carolina and the Outer Banks as the storm system headed out to sea.
National Weather Service meteorologist Jim Merrell at Newport said Thursday the storm could linger into today before the weather clears as a high-pressure system arrives.
Merrell said the high pressure is expected to keep Tropical Storm Hanna away from the North Carolina coast and send it out to sea or to the south.
The weather service says rainfall averaged 3 to 12 inches across central counties during two days this week as Fay’s remnants trudged across North Carolina.
State officials say that despite the rainfall, drought conditions have not ended.
An official said the statewide soaking was welcome but wouldn’t wipe out the drought conditions across the state. Sixteen counties were added Thursday to the exceptional drought category — the worst — on the state’s drought’s monitoring list. A week ago, 21 counties were on the list.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.