September 1, 2008

Tropical Storm Hanna Now a Hurricane

Hanna has beefed up into a Category 1 hurricane, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said Monday.

Federal response officials, during a briefing on the status of Hurricane Gustav in New Orleans, said they were preparing to respond to Hurricane Hanna in Florida, and North and South Carolina.

"We're ready for a response" to Hanna, said Rear Adm. W. Craig Vanderwagen, assistant commissioner for U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in charge of readiness and response.

The government of the Bahamas issued a hurricane warning for central and southeastern Bahamas, and the Turks and Caicos Islands. The hurricane center said the slow-moving Hanna was nearly Mayaguana Island in the southeastern Bahamas, moving west-southwest at about 5 mph.

Maximum sustained winds were reported near 75 mph, with higher gusts.

Hanna was expected to produce rainfall of between 4-to-8 inches over the hurricane watch area, with isolated instances of up to 12 inches through Thursday, the center. said.

Swells were expected to increase the risk of rip currents along areas of the southeastern U.S. coast over the next few days, the center said.

Concerning Hurricane Hanna, Maj. Gen. Don Riley, deputy commanding general of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said, "We'll make sure we have coverage" in Florida and the Carolinas.

Joseph Becker, Red Cross senior vice president of disaster services, said the organization was prepared as well to respond to Hanna.

"We're in a hurricane season," he said. "We're not just responding to one event."