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Preparing For Bonnie's Fury

A hurricane watch was raised from Savannah, Georgia to the Virginia border Monday, as Hurricane Bonnie inched closer to the East Coast of the U.S.

Forecasters say the storm is as wide as Kansas and speeding up its progress, reports CBS News Correspondent Byron Pitts. By late Monday, 1,300 National Guardsmen were ordered to coastal staging areas in South Carolina to help prepare for a possible close encounter with the giant storm.

In Charleston Monday evening, Mayor Joseph Riley Jr. said the troops were ready for the worst.

"Right now our greatest responsibility -- since we can't steer the storm -- is to make sure that we are ready for it if it comes," Mr. Riley said.

Charleston residents loaded up Monday for what was still a faraway storm.

It's an understandable reaction in a region where the taste of hurricanes past still lingers. Nine years ago, Charleston was leveled by hurricane Hugo. One hundred thirty-five mile an hour winds toppled homes, took lives, and set the city back ten years.

Up and down the east coast Monday, swimmers ignored warnings. Fierce riptides claimed two lives in Delaware and on the New Jersey shore. In Atlantic City, surfers rolled the dice. Some lost, as rescuers plucked over 100 people out of the water due to riptides.

Reported by Byron Pitts
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