Hanna targets East Coast; Ike looms

| Friday, September 05, 2008

As Tropical Storm Hanna sets its sights on the East Coast of the U.S., hurricane Ike waits its turn out in the Atlantic.

According to the National Hurricane Center, Hanna was expected to make landfall in the Carolinas Friday night, though the outer bands of the storm were already soaking the region with heavy rainfall that afternoon.

Leaders of East Coast states braced for Hanna Friday, few mentioning the threat of Ike close behind.

On Wednesday, North Carolina Gov. Easley activated up to 270 members of the National Guard and 12 of the state’s 25 Swift Water Rescue Teams for the central and eastern portions of the state. In addition, 144 Highway Patrol troopers are on standby for immediate deployment. The State Emergency Response Team is coordinating state agency response and support to the counties.

North Carolina has also waived size and weight limits as well as fuel taxes for truckers providing relief. For a copy of that declaration, click here.

Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine declared a state of emergency for the state on Thursday in order to have emergency-related state services on full alert in anticipation of Hanna making landfall sometime late Friday or early Saturday. In addition to staffing up state agencies, the National Guard is on standby to deploy to needed areas.

Maryland’s governor issued a “limited” disaster declaration as well. Gov. Martin O’Malley said the pre-deployment of National Guard troops throughout the State and the ability to engage other states through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, as well as federal aid and reimbursement, are just a few resources activated by this declaration.

Leaders of the other states in Hanna’s path encouraged coastal residents to prepare for flooding and to stay informed through local emergency

Hanna was still at tropical storm strength as of press time, but forecasters say there is a chance she could gain hurricane strength to a category 1 storm before hitting land.

Meanwhile, Hurricane Ike is leaving no uncertainty about its strength, spinning away in the Atlantic as a category 3 storm.

Ike is predicted to slam into the Bahamas this weekend before shifting north and heading for Florida by Tuesday morning.

And tropical storm Josephine was still making waves even further out in the Atlantic, although the chances of it even making landfall in the U.S. have greatly diminished.

Evacuation routes and road conditions:

Georgia or Cingular, Verizon, Sprint & T-Mobile wireless customers can dial *DOT; all others call 404-635-8000.
South Carolina or call 803-737-2314.
North Carolina or call 511 or the alternate in-state toll free 877-511-4662.
Virginia or call 511.
Delaware or call 800-652-5600 in-state or 302-760-2080.
* Maryland or call 410-582-5605.
New Jersey or call 511.
* Pennsylvania or call 888-783-6783 in-state or 717-783-5186.
* New York or call 511 or
* Connecticut or call (860) 594-2000.
* Rhode Island or call 511 in-state and 888-401-4511 from out-of-state.
** Massachusetts or call 511 or 617-374-1234.
* New Hampshire or call 511.
* Vermont or call 511.
* Maine or call 511 in-state or 866-282-7578 from out-of-state.

* Links lead to road condition report pages, not evacuation routes, on the state’s Web site.
** No online statewide road conditions available.

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