5 pm Update: Hannah Weakens, Ike and Josephine Strengthen; Aircraft reconnaissance confirmed that Hanna weakened further this afternoon to maximum winds of 65 mph as it meandered slowly southward near the southern Bahamas. Some strengthening along with a turn to a more northwesterly direction are expected. Hanna could become a hurricane again in the next couple of days.
Florida declares state of emergency
The complexity of the upper level circulation pattern around Hanna means that there is greater uncertainty in the intensity forecast than usual. However, Hanna is still expected to reach the Southeast U.S. coast somewhere from central Florida to the Carolinas as a Category 1 hurricane by the weekend. In anticipation of Hanna's arrival, CNN reports that Florida has already declared a state of emergency.
Tropical Storm Ike's maximum winds increased to 65 mph as it trucked along in the tradewinds at a brisk 17 mph. It has a good chance of becoming a hurricane within 12 to 24 hours.
Tropical Storm Josephine now has winds estimated at up to 50 mph as it moves westward away from the Cape Verde Islands. Josephine has very favorable water temperatures and wind shear conditions, so it is expected to become a hurricane within a couple of days.
As Gustav loses its tropical identity, a new storm has formed in the Atlantic, so there are still three active tropical cyclones. The one with the most immediate threat to land is Hanna, which is expected to reach the Southeast U.S. coast and interior Mid Atlantic area after affecting the Bahamas.
Tropical Storm Gustav weakened to a depression overnight. Tropical advisories are no longer being issued on the storm, but it's still expected to be a prolific rain maker in the interior of the Gulf Coast Region.
Hurricane Hanna was downgraded to a tropical storm. It's still being bashed by some upper level wind shear aided by the outflow from Gustav. Hanna is still capable of producing heavy rains over the southeastern Bahamas and Hispaniola. Little change is expected in Hanna's 70 mph maximum winds through tonight, but it has a better chance of strengthening tomorrow.
Tropical Storm Ike has strengthened a little to maximum winds of 60 mph. It could become a hurricane on Wednesday.
Tropical Storm Josephine developed from Tropical Depression 10 this morning near the Cape Verde Islands in the far eastern Atlantic. It has maximum winds of 40 mph, and it has a chance of becoming a hurricane in the next couple of days.