September 5, 2008

RAIN and Wind Ahead


By Lauren King

The Virginian-Pilot

Tropical Storm Hanna continued moving closer to the coast and a hurricane watch stretched farther up into North Carolina throughout the day Thursday.

The National Hurricane Center said the hurricane watch for Hanna extends as far north as Currituck Beach Light, on the Outer Banks near the North Carolina/Virginia border.

A tropical storm warning was issued from the Savannah River up to the North Carolina and Virginia border, including the Pamlico and Albemarle sounds. The warning means tropical storm conditions are expected within the area within the next 24 hours, the advisory said.

From the state line north to Great Egg Inlet, N. J., a tropical storm watch has been issued, including the Chesapeake Bay. A tropical storm watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area within 36 hours.

Hanna was moving toward the northwest and was expected to continue in that direction for the next day or so with a gradual increase in forward speed. A turn to the north is expected by late today, which would bring it near the coast. Rains and winds associated with Hanna will reach the coast well in advance of the center. The storm has killed at least 137 people in Haiti.

Maximum sustained winds are near 65 mph, with higher gusts, the National Hurricane Center said Thursday night. However, Hanna could become a hurricane before reaching the coastline today.

Local and state agencies in Virginia and North Carolina continued preparations throughout Thursday, as did college campuses, the Coast Guard and Navy. Both state governors declared states of emergency, authorizing agencies to put resources in place to respond to any storm- related damages.

Swells from Hanna are expected to increase the risk of dangerous rip currents along portions of the southeastern U.S. coast in the next few days.

But at "S-turns," just north of Rodanthe, surfers from as far away as Florida were riding swells and barrels that ranged from shoulder-high to a couple of feet over their heads.

"I'm actually surprised that there are as few guys here as there are," Mickey McCarthy, a freelance photographer from Colington Harbour, said Thursday. "The Outer Banks is known throughout the surfing world for premier waves, and this is the place."

Currituck, Hyde and Dare counties each issued news releases that reminded visitors to monitor Hanna's progress and adjust travel plans as necessary to avoid inclement weather, road closures and suspension of ferry service. No evacuations were ordered.

Residents were told they should secure loose items outside and purchase nonperishable food items and review the working condition of battery-powered radios and flashlights.

Norfolk and Chesapeake announced they will partially activate the emergency operations center today.

Chesapeake City Council is scheduled to hold a special meeting at 12:30 p.m. to declare a local state of emergency.

Norfolk spokesman Bob Batcher said officials are monitoring the storm but for the time being don't expect to open any emergency shelters. City officials said residents can get updates on conditions in the city by calling (757) 664-7200 or going to the city's Web site,

In Suffolk, Emergency Management Coordinator Jim Judkins said the city doesn't anticipate opening shelters because the predictions currently resemble a "giant nor'easter."

That said, Judkins added, "with storms we don't rule out anything."

Hurricane Ike is barreling up the coast behind Hanna. The Category 4 hurricane has been approaching the Bahamas and had sustained 135 mph winds Thursday night.

Pilot writers Dave Forster, Catherine Kozak, Harry Minium, Mike Saewitz and Patrick Wilson and The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Lauren King, (757) 446-2309, [email protected]

Virginia OUTLOOK

A tropical storm watch is in effect for the region, meaning tropical storm conditions could reach us within 36 hours. The governor declared a state of emergency, and Norfolk and Chesapeake will partially activate their emergency operations centers today. your storm info center

Use today's storm guide to help you and your family get ready - with tips on what to do before, during and after the storm, contact information in case of emergency and a list of what local offices and attractions will be closed because of the storm.

Pages 4 and 5 N. Carolina OUTLOOK

The governor declared a state of emergency, and Currituck, Hyde and Dare counties warned visitors to stay alert for road closures and suspension of ferry service. No evacuations were ordered.

Get a firsthand look at Coast Guard preparations, Page 5 ONLINE

Track hurricanes with our Global Storm Tracker. Get ready for storms with our online disaster guide and learn more about hurricanes with our interactive "In the Eye of the Storm." Get updated forecasts, photos and news at rip currents

Despite ideal surfing conditions, swells from Hanna are expected to increase the risk of dangerous rip currents along portions of the southeastern U.S. coast in the next few days.

Originally published by BY LAUREN KING.

(c) 2008 Virginian - Pilot. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.