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Bonnie: A Tropical Storm (Again)

As the cleanup continued in the Carolinas, tropical storm Bonnie moved further away from land. By Sunday, Bonnie was hundreds of miles southwest of Newfoundland, and was moving northeast at about 17 mph with a turn further out to sea expected.

Weakened Hurricane Danielle continued on the path of least resistance Sunday, heading north on a path forecasters said eventually would take it even farther away from land.

"Right now we're confident that's where it's going to go," Bill Frederick, a meteorologist at the National Hurricane Center. "It looks like it's going to go on up and go on out."

The storm is not expected to threaten the United States. Hurricane Danielle was in the Atlantic, packing 75-mph hour winds and moving slowly -- about ten miles an hour. Danielle was forecast to remain at sea as it passes offshore the Outer Banks of the Carolinas Monday night and Tuesday.

In many areas Friday, where Bonnie had come and gone, the cleanup was under way. CBS News Correspondent Diana Olick reports that almost as soon as the wild winds subsided, the sighs of relief began.

Some of those who weathered the storm at home say they were exhilarated by the experience. In Wilmington, there were downed tree limbs and power lines, but no major damage. In Surf City, many residents were anxious to leave shelters and head back to their homes to assess damage and take care of their pets.

Bonnie, which had weakened to a tropical storm and was expected to peter out, regained hurricane strength Thursday night and battered Virginia's coast. Winds as high as 75 mph snapped ship mooring ropes and left hundreds of thousands of people without electricity.

Before veering toward the Atlantic, Bonnie left two people dead. A 12-year-old girl was killed in Currituck County, N.C., near the Virginia border, when a tree fell on her family's home, and a 50-year-old man was electrocuted near Myrtle Beach, S.C., officials said.

"He had hooked up a generator from his camper outside for some power to his home, and apparently it wasn't grounded when he was working on it, and he was electrocuted," Horry County police Maj. Johnny Morgan said.

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The storm's rain and high winds flooded roads and toppled trees and power lines, sending utility crews scrambling to make repairs. Power company officials estimated it would take days to completely restore service.

Bonnie was downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm Thursday morning as it spent much of its fury over North Carolina. But as it fed on the warm waters of the Atlantic, its sustained winds increased to 75 mph, and the National Weather Service redesignated it as a hurricane at 11 p.m. Thursday.


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Slightly more than 218,000 customers in southeastern Virginia were without power Thursday evening, mostly in Virginia Beach and Norfolk, Virginia Power spokesman Charles Taylor said. Virginia Power headquarters was among places without power.

Trees snapped and signs toppled as the winds intensified quickly during the night, falling on power lines.


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"It's fairly safe to say we're looking at a couple of days to get everybody back on," Taylor said. "We're working right now where it's safe, but there are some areas that we can't even get to because of wind gusts."

As the storm intensified, Portsmouth's 911 emergency system failed for about two hours. Amber Whitaker, a spokeswoman for Portsmouth police, said calls were rerouted to Chesapeake dispatchers, who relayed information to Portsmouth police, until the system was restored by 11 p.m.

Bonnie made landfall at Cape Fear, N.C. Wednesday at 2 p.m. EDT, with fierce 115 mph winds - a category 3 storm. It was downgraded to a category 1 early Thursday morning, the mildest of the hurricane levels. But forecasters warned that the storm was still dangerous and could cause devastating damage to agricultural areas and buildings.

"We're not

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too concernd about the storm," said John Misantone, 49, of Staunton, who checked in with his wife Jeannine. "We figured that as long as we weren't in severe danger, it would be OK to come here."

In the Ocean View section of Norfolk, a tree knocked over by the winds damaged the roof of a duplex and destroyed a garage next door. An apartment complex near the Oceana Naval Air Station also was struck by a tree, displacing five people.

Virginia officials cautioned people not to take the weakened storm lightly.

View a simulation of a storm surge.

"It's not quite the life-threatening situation" that officials initially feared, said Mark Marchbank, deputy coordinator of emergency services for Virginia Beach.

"We're still going to have severe weather," Marchbank said. "People have to be prepared to act."

The improved forecast prompted local officials to lift their recommendation that people evacuate mobile homes, the Sandbridge beachfront community and areas prone to flooding. But the road to Sandbridge was closed Thursday night to all but residents as the storm intensified.

Many restaurants within sight of the waves crashing on the beach remained open, and the tourists who stayed for the storm pressed their noses against windows to view the ferocious display.

Virginia Beach closed one of the two shelters it had opened. About 30 people remained at the shelter Thursday, down from a total of 150 at both shelters late Wednesday.
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Maps and data courtesy of The Weather Channel