CBSN

Hanna Brings Rain, Flooding Along Coast

Nags Head resident Chuck Snead, right, takes a photo as surf from Tropical Storm Hanna surrounds him in Nags Head, N.C., Saturday, Sept. 6, 2008. Hanna made landfall along the North Carolina coast early Saturday. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
AP Photo/Gerry Broome
Tropical Storm Hanna accelerated toward New England on Saturday after the storm's whipping winds and rain didn't linger long enough over the Southeast to cause much more than some isolated flooding and power outages.

Hanna moved quickly inland after cruising ashore overnight with winds of around 50 mph. But as the storm cleared out of the Southeast, eyes turned to the open Atlantic and the nasty looking Hurricane Ike, - a Category 4 storm with 135 mph winds that was approaching Cuba Saturday evening.

By comparison, Hanna was a breeze.

"Right now we're just keeping an eye on things and making sure we stay ahead of the eight-ball," said Moore County, N.C., public safety director Carlton Cole. "It's nowhere near as bad as it could have been."

North Carolina got the worst beating, especially areas around Raleigh and Fayetteville, reports CBS News correspondent Kimberly Dozier. Emergency crews up and down the east coast are still coping with flash floods and downed trees and power lines.

As of 8 p.m. Eastern time, the center was near Atlantic City, New Jersey. It was moving toward New York City at about 28 miles-an-hour, which should put it over southern New England Sunday morning and the Canadian Maritimes by the afternoon.

The National Hurricane Center says Hanna's top winds have picked up a bit in the last few hours, now are now clocked at about 55 miles-an-hour.

Tropical storm watches or warnings were issued all the way to Massachusetts, and included all of Chesapeake Bay, the Washington, D.C., area and Long Island, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. At least one traffic fatality in Maryland is blamed on the Hanna, which was blamed for disastrous flooding and more than 100 deaths in Haiti.

At least 2,000 people spent the night in shelters and almost 100,000 customers along the East Coast had no power midday Saturday.

And the Coast Guard closed all navigable waters in the Port of Hampton Roads, the lower Maryland Eastern Shore and the Port of Richmond, Va., on the James River. Maryland authorities issued wind warnings on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.

In the resort town of Ocean City, Md., Beach Patrol Capt. Butch Arbin ordered lifeguards posted at all entrances to the 10½-mile beach to urge people to stay well back from the towering waves.

But that didn't keep surfers from trying to ride the swells that doubled to 12 feet by late morning.

"We're just really excited to have some sort of waves," said 20-year-old Taylor Thonton of Westchester, Pa.

But the rain and wind may not be the biggest threat to beachgoers.

"Tomorrow, the next day, it's going to be sunny out here. It's going to be nice weather. But the ocean's gonna be treacherous because of the rip currents," Capt. Bush Arbin of the Ocean City Beach Patrol told CBS News. "That's when it's going to be the most treacherous."

At Ocean Isle Beach, south of Wilmington, N.C., the storm damaged a road that was already under assault from beach erosion. Elsewhere along the Eastern seaboard, folks quickly moved to reclaim the weekend from the storm.

"It looks like it's going to be a great weekend on the Grand Strand," said South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford.

On North Carolina's Outer Banks, the stinging sand and sea spray didn't keep 78-year-old William Cusick from getting up early to walk his dog on the beach.

"I don't see anything too exciting about this - it's not too serious," Cusick said.

"All I've heard is wind, wind and more wind," said Dylan Oslzewski, 19, working an overnight shift at a convenience store in Shallotte, N.C., about 15 miles north of the state line with South Carolina. Oslzewski said he had only seen four customers compared to 30 or 40 on a normal weekend night.

Scattered power outages and fallen trees were reported across Horry and Georgetown counties, but there were no injuries.

Thrill-seekers came out around midnight to watch the waves as Hanna raced north at about 21 mph, with top winds of 70 mph.

Vacationing friends Ken Prive, 17, and Armin Berkley, 18, from Concord, N.C., were swimming in high waves in the ocean after employees at their hotel kicked them out of the pool.

"We're good swimmers and we want to have fun," Berkley said. "Yeah, this is crazy, but you have to live life as hard as you can."

Police in other parts of the 50-mile-beach called the Grand Strand chased people out of the surf.

Emergency officials urged evacuations in only a few spots in the Carolinas and about 400 people went to shelters in both states. Forecasters had said there was only a small chance of Hanna becoming a hurricane, and most people simply planned to stay off the roads until the storm passed.

Crews are out cleaning the beaches and forecasters expect a beautiful, but breezy Saturday.

The Carolinas appear to have escaped any major damage, but in Haiti, where Hanna hovered for four days earlier this week, the death toll has skyrocketed. Officials now estimate Hanna has killed 529 Haitians. The United Nations is rushing food and fresh drinking water to people devastated by the storm.

Hanna was expected to race up the Atlantic Coast, reaching New England by Sunday morning. Tropical storm watches or warnings ran from the Carolinas to Massachusetts, and included all of Chesapeake Bay, the Washington, D.C., area and Long Island. But a hurricane watch along the Carolinas' coasts was dropped.

As many as 6 inches of rain were expected in the Carolinas, as well as central Virginia, Maryland and southeastern Pennsylvania. Some spots could see up to 10 inches, and forecasters warned of the potential for flash flooding in the northern mid-Atlantic states and southern New England.

Utilities as far north as New Hampshire put electric and natural gas crews on notice they might have to work long hours to repair any damage. At the Ocean Edge Resort and Club on Cape Cod in Brewster, Mass., staff members braced for rain as they prepared for an outdoor wedding Saturday. "Hopefully it will blow out to sea and it won't even bother them," said Bryan Webb, director of sales and marketing.

In Washington, officials prepared for the possibility of flooding in low-lying neighborhoods by removing debris from catch basins, stockpiling sandbags and lining up portable pumps and generators. In New Jersey, 300 dump trucks hauled in sand to fortify a beach in the Strathmere section of Upper Township.

"These shipments of sand are a good thing, but if they don't work out, the people down here could lose their houses," said Tim Buckland, whose family has owned an oceanfront house in Strathmere for 50 years. He was at the beach Friday, playing in bigger-than-normal waves with his family.

Amtrak canceled some Saturday service in preparation for Hanna. Ten trains, including the Silver Meteor between New York and Miami, and the Auto Train between Lorton, Va., and Sanford, Fla., were halted.

Organizers of the U.S. Open in New York decided to reschedule some of the tennis matches after seeing forecasts calling for about 12 hours of rain and wind up to 35 mph.

For all the talk of Hanna, there was more about Ike, which could become the fiercest storm to strike South Florida since Andrew in 1992. That hurricane did more than $26 billion in damage and was blamed for 65 deaths from wind and flooding along with car crashes and other storm-related accidents.

FEMA officials said they were positioning supplies, search and rescue crews, communications equipment and medical teams in Florida and along the Gulf Coast - a task complicated by Ike's changing path. Tourists in the Keys were ordered to leave beginning Saturday morning.

Florida's governor Charlie Crist has declared a state of emergency in advance of Ike, and is preparing for possible mass evacuations.

"I got briefed yesterday about the potential for evacuations in south Florida, it might include as many as 1.3 million people."

Florida residents are preparing.

"We've got a lot of water, a lot of batteries, and we've got a lot of reading material," one man said.

The storm did cause some travel headaches. Raleigh-Durham International Airport canceled a few dozen flights Saturday morning, and there were also some cancellations at Ronald Reagan National and Dulles International in the Washington D.C. area.

Amtrak idled 10 trains, including the Silver Meteor between New York and Miami, and the Auto Train between Lorton, Va., and Sanford, Fla.

Weekend sports were also impacted. Expectations of heavy rain forced NASCAR to postpone Saturday night's Sprint Cup Series race to Sunday afternoon at Richmond International Raceway. Organizers of the U.S. Open in New York said they may have to reschedule some of the tennis matches and the first game of a scheduled day-night doubleheader between the Oakland Athletics and Baltimore Orioles was postponed.