September 5, 2008

Hanna Storms Toward U.S. East Coast

Tropical storm warnings were posted Friday along the eastern seaboard from Georgia to New Jersey as Tropical Storm Hanna churned north in the Atlantic Ocean.

A tropical storm warning also was in effect for the northwestern area of the Bahamas, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said. In addition, hurricane watches were posted from north of Edisto Beach, S.C., to Currituck Beach, N.C.

Hanna is forecast to make landfall overnight along the Carolina coast between Myrtle Beach, S.C., and Wilmington, N.C., said.

Once over land, Hanna was expected to move along the Interstate 95 corridor, bringing heavy rain and damaging winds to the major cities from Richmond, Va., to Boston, forecasters said.

"This storm will do some damage, much like winter nor'easters that are even more powerful," senior meteorologist John Kocet said.

Tropical Storm Hanna had sustained winds near 65 mph with higher gusts. Forecasters said Hanna was expected to strengthen slightly before landfall, possibly becoming a hurricane, before weakening after landfall.

Just before midday Friday, Hanna's center was about 110 miles east of Daytona Beach, Fla., the hurricane center said. The storm was moving northwesterly at about 20 mph.

Flooding from the coastal storm surge could be 4 feet to 6 feet above normal tide with rainfalls of between 1 inch to 10 inches in the watch areas, the hurricane center said.