September 2, 2008

Hanna Targets Bahamas, Cuba, Florida

Hurricane Hanna resumed a west-southwest trek as it advanced on the Bahamas at midday Tuesday, U.S. forecasters in Miami said.

A hurricane warning was in effect for central and southeastern Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands, while a tropical storm warning was posted for the northern coast of Haiti, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said..

Hanna's center was about 20 miles east-northeast of Great Inagua Island and about 370 miles southeast of Nassau with sustained winds of 70 mph, forecasters said.

Hanna was only moving west-southwest at 6 mph, the report said. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 35 miles from the center and tropical storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles.

The center said strengthening was likely Wednesday night and Thursday.

"Hanna is expected to produce rainfall amounts of 8 to 12 inches with isolated amounts of 20 inches over the southeastern Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands," the NHC warned. "Interests in eastern Cuba, the northwestern Bahamas, and the Florida peninsula should monitor the progress of Hanna."

The NHC also said dangerous rip currents along the southeastern U.S. coast were being generated by the hurricane.