Hanna takes aim at Bahamas; Ike next in line


NASSAU, Bahamas — Tropical Storm Hanna roared along the edge of the Bahamas on Thursday ahead of a possible hurricane hit on the Carolinas, leaving behind at least 61 dead in Haiti.

Hurricane Ike, a still-more-dangerous Category 4 storm, was advancing from the east.

Hanna was forecast to pass east of the Atlantic archipelago before striking along the coast of North or South Carolina by Saturday, but the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said Hanna’s sprawling bands of outer winds are likely to hit far sooner. Tropical storm force winds extended outward as far as 315 miles (510 kilometers) from the center.

Haitian authorities on Thursday blamed Hanna for 61 deaths, most due to flooding.

A hurricane watch was posted from Okracoke Inlet, North Carolina to Edisto Beach, South Carolina, with a tropical storm force watch south to Altamaha Sound, Georgia.

Forecasters said it could curve northeastward after hitting U.S. coast and run up the seaboard past New York with tropical-storm-force winds.

“Most certainly I am relieved. We are tranquil,” said Stephen Russell, interim director of the Bahamas National Emergency Management Agency.

But he was already worried about Ike and Tropical Storm Josephine behind it.

“As soon as we are clear with Hanna, we have to turn our eyes now on Ike, a powerful one coming ashore,” Russell said.