(AP) – September 6, 2008 -- Tropical Storm Hanna sailed easily over the beaches of Carolinas' coast and moved inland Saturday, blowing hard and dumping rain in eastern North Carolina but causing little damage beyond isolated flooding as it quickly headed north toward New England.
Emergency officials were already looking past Hanna to
powerful Hurricane Ike, several hundred miles out in the Atlantic. With
Category 3 winds of near 115 mph, Ike could approach Cuba and southern Florida
by Monday, as Hanna spins away from Canada over the North Atlantic.
"Hanna is heading north in a hurry, leaving behind
sunshine for the weekend," said Myrtle Beach city spokesman Mark Kruea.
He said city services would be open and that "despite a
week of preliminary hype" the storm didn't have much of an impact on the
city aside from a few downed trees and some power outages that were repaired in
less than a half-hour. It was the same story in eastern North Carolina, where
Hanna headed with top winds of around 50 mph after coming ashore around 3:20
Julia Jarema, a spokeswoman at the N.C. Emergency Operations
Center, said there are reports of some localized flooding, temporary road closures
and scattered power outages, but that officials haven't heard about too many
"As the day goes on, I'm sure we're going to hear more
reports of flooding as people get out and get on the roads," she said.
At least 1,500 spent the night in shelters and more than
55,000 customers - mostly around Wilmington, N.C - were without power early
Saturday in the Carolinas. To the north, the Coast Guard closed all navigable
waters in the Port of Hampton Roads, the lower Maryland Eastern Shore and the
Port of Richmond, Va., on the James River.
Several inches of rain fell in the Carolinas, including 5
inches in Fayetteville and the Sandhills region. The same was forecast for
central Virginia, Maryland and southeastern Pennsylvania, where some spots
could get up to 10 inches. Forecasters warned of the potential for flash
flooding in the northern mid-Atlantic states and southern New England.
"Fortunately it happened during the night, on the
weekend. That would be a mess if it happened during the week as people are
tying to get to work," said National Weather Service meteorologist