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Tropical Storm Hannah Hits the Carolinas; Following Hurrican Ike

Aired September 6, 2008 - 06:00   ET


T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: From the CNN Center and from your hurricane headquarters, we're getting a bit of an early start for this CNN SATURDAY MORNING because some people are getting a bit of a wake-up call this morning called Hanna. We're on storm watch today. Good morning to you all. I'm T.J. Holmes.
JENNIFER WESTHOVEN, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Jennifer Westhoven. I'm in for Betty Nguyen. Tropical Storm Hanna slamming the East Coast. It made landfall about three hours ago on the North Carolina/South Carolina border. With the storm on the move, we've got watches and warnings this morning from Georgia to Massachusetts.

HOLMES: But, even though we're keeping an eye on Hanna, Ike is on the brain as well. In a few hours we're going to have evacuations getting started in parts of Florida because we have a small but impressive storm as it's described of Hurricane Ike that is getting closer.

But again, we are going to start with Hanna. Hanna used to be a hurricane, a tropical storm now. It is still going to cause some problems. We're seeing some strong winds and heavy rain along the southeastern coastline.

WESTHOVEN: Hanna didn't regain hurricane strength but still had wind gusts around 70 miles an hour. What many people are worried about this morning is flooding.


JOHN HOUSE, OAK ISLAND, NC FIRE CHIEF: We've got some isolated flooding in several low-lying areas of the island right now, which is in access of three feet in some areas.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: How serious is that?

HOUSE: It's pretty serious because we're having problems navigating equipment through there, emergency equipment, police vehicles, and those types of things right now. As far as the beach goes, we've got a lot of beach erosion going on right now, which is our main concern...

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: What about from Dolphin (ph) back in a little bit? What does it look like over there?

HOUSE: It's not as bad in those areas over there yet. We do have some on the main drag coming in when we get our rain bands coming in. But mainly the beachfront and stuff like that right now. (END VIDEO CLIP)

HOLMES: All right, take a look here. Hanna made landfall at a place called Little River Inlakes (ph). You don't see it there illustrated on our map specifically, but it's an area along the border between North and South Carolina. That area has a lot of little coastal islands that are certainly vulnerable to strong storm surges.

WESTHOVEN: We've got correspondents keeping an eye on the coast.

HOLMES: Our Reynolds Wolf, he is out and about today. He has been out of the Severe Weather Center and in the severe weather this weekend. He's in the middle of it all. He's in Wilmington, North Carolina. Also our Kathleen Koch is braving the elements in Myrtle Beach for us.

Of course, in these kinds of storms we usually see the stronger winds on the north and east edges of that storm. That also means we're going to see the threat of tornados. Again, our Reynolds Wolf in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, just north of where Hanna made landfall. Reynolds, good morning to you, sir. How are things where you are, buddy?

REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN METEOROLOGIST: I'll tell you, T.J., right now things are relatively dry here. We had some rainfall last night. It was just coming down in sheets and then it was kind of intermittent. It would come and it would go. The wind has been one thing that has been somewhat of a constant, although now is more of the weaker times.

Strongest wind gust recorded from the storm was 67 miles per hour. We got that earlier today. We do anticipate that as this storm...


WOLF: ... we can expect the winds to shift, becoming more of a westerly direction and then dying out all together. We're not done with the rain just yet. The rain is a tremendous concern for people here in the Carolinas. You know T.J., I'll take you back to 1999 when you had the gruesome twosome of storms.

You had Dennis and then you had Floyd that came through just a few weeks apart. Neither one of them were major hurricanes, but still they dumped quite a bit of rainfall. We had widespread flooding across the Tar Heel state, so memories are sharp here in North Carolina. They do remember that.

Now we've got some video from earlier today or rather earlier this morning showing you just some of the winds, some of the rain that was coming through the area, some damage on the side of some buildings. The wind actually stripping away some of the siding. Not too surprising when you have storms of this nature.

Thankfully the storm never really got its full fury. I mean this is a storm that has a history of being much, much stronger, but before landfall and as it made its way onshore it was just a tropical storm. But people here are very thankful. I've got to tell you though, too, T.J., people here on the Carolina coast not too razzled by this storm. They're used to this kind of stuff. The Carolina coastline from this point all the way up to the outer banks have been kind of the Atlantic punching bag of storms. Not just over the last 50, 60 years but for thousands of years this area has been hit by storms, so certainly nothing new to a lot of the folks in this area. Let's send it back to you in the studio, T.J.

HOLMES: Reynolds, real quick here. You talk about it's certainly not as strong of a storm as it was. People there are used to -- like you say, thousands of years storms have been coming through over there literally, but still, people hear that and maybe they think, OK, the danger is gone, we're all in the clear, everything is fine. So what is still a threat right now?

WOLF: What is the biggest threat right now?

HOLMES: I mean what's still left of the threat of this storm?

WOLF: The biggest threat right now again is going to be that possibility of raining, the heavy precipitation. See T.J., when this storm, most of rain, most of the moisture has been on the other side of the storm system. When the storm actually gets into higher elevations, up in the Appalachians (INAUDIBLE) this thing is called proactive (ph) lift and there's that possibility that when you get to higher elevations it's really going to enhance that rainfall and they could see quite a bit -- you could have some flooding and some flooding issues with flooding.

But the thing is though, too, because this storm is such a quick mover, because it's moving so rapidly, that probably will be not a fear that really is going to manifest. On the other hand...


HOLMES: All right. Our Reynolds Wolf having some issues there.

WOLF: ... Ike and that is certainly something scary for us -- back to you.

HOLMES: OK. All right Reynolds, I appreciate it. I just wanted people to really understand, even though this doesn't seem to be that destructive storm many might expect when they hear hurricane. Still, it's something they need to keep out for, they still need to know this thing is a threat. Reynolds, we appreciate you. We'll be checking back with you again here shortly.

WESTHOVEN: All right, we're going to head a little bit south into South Carolina now where CNN's Kathleen Koch is standing by in Myrtle Beach. Also very close to where this storm made landfall where the evacuations there were only voluntary. Kathleen, what are you seeing?

KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right now we're still seeing some pretty decent winds. According to local meteorologists, the highest wind gusts that we got here in the Myrtle Beach area were around 50 miles an hour, but I'll tell you that some people here in the beachfront hotel where we staying really they insisted it had to be higher.

They were out here, say in the 11:00 hour last night and could barely stand up. So that to me sounds more like gusts in the 60s, 70-mile- an-hour range. In the way of rain, they say we've gotten about five inches here. And there was a lot of concern about storm surge.

It's unclear right now just how high the storm surge got. Again, the -- Hanna was supposed to come sweeping in after 12:30 p.m. when they had high tide in this area, so it will be interesting this morning to see what potential damage there may be at local marinas.

But really what authorities are telling us is what they have seen overnight and still into this morning has been localized flooding in areas that normally flood. In the city of Georgetown, south of here, there was at the height of the storm a closure of Highway 17.

Now that's the main north/south artery. That was pretty serious for that area for a time. But authorities I spoke to there this morning say the major arteries are clear. The water is going down. But they still are urging people if they can to stay off the streets this morning.

The winds are still gusting. It will still push your car around. They don't want anyone to get hurt. And that is the good news really that there have been no injuries, no serious damage. Even very few power outages. They opened a couple of shelters here in the Myrtle Beach area.

They said only about 70 people have sought shelter there as of late last night. So again, everyone here really breathing a huge sigh of relief -- Betty.

WESTHOVEN: Wow. That sounds like good news. Kathleen, thank you so much. Meteorologist Karen Maginnis is tracking both Hanna and Hurricane Ike.

SCARBOROUGH: Are you -- oh there she is...



HOLMES: Good morning to you. I know you stayed at that weather computer. You got a lot going on, on that thing right now.

KAREN MAGINNIS, METEOROLOGIST: Absolutely. I was getting the very latest information. Just wanted to see how this was really going to evolve because now it's moving very rapidly towards the north. That's one of the things that Reynolds mentioned is this is moving so swiftly that we're not going to see an opportunity where this is going to be a 20-inch rain producer in the coast.

We're looking at between four, six, possibly as much as 10 inches of rainfall. But right now it's located about 150 miles to the north of Charleston, South Carolina, or just about 75 miles north of Myrtle Beach. This is old stomping grounds for me. This is where I was born.

And this is very vulnerable areas here, very prone to beach erosion and coastal flooding. Well, right now the system is continuing to move toward the north and northeast. Later on today this is going to make its move more towards the northeast, so the I-95 corridor is going to see the effects of this.

Even though it's way down here in North Carolina right now, we think that by this evening it's going to be whipping up the coast very quickly. Now, this red box indicates that that's a tornado watch in effect until 1:00 this afternoon.

Now here are some of the wind gusts and I checked for Reynolds Wolf, some of the gusts that they've seen. I saw peak wind gusts of 54 miles an hour, right around Wrightsville Beach. Then there is Ike. Let's go ahead and show you what's happening with Hanna.

Hanna making its way across North Carolina right now. And it does have supporting winds of 60 miles an hour. So it's really losing some of the punch but not completely just yet. It is going to make its way through that I-95 corridor all the way up towards Boston with some gusty winds and the heavy rainfall.

Although this is a compact system that never reached its full potential as a hurricane, but it did produce fatalities in Haiti. Then there is Ike that we'll be watching as it will brush by the northern coast of Cuba over the next 24 to 48 hours. We'll keep you updated. Jennifer, T.J., back to you.

HOLMES: All right. We know you will, Karen, and nice to know you're from that area along the coast there. Good to have you here. We know you know it well.


HOLMES: All right. Well as always, we're keeping an eye on our affiliates helping us tell this story. Here's a couple of live pictures of our affiliates in the coastal region. We will stick with them and help them tell the story. And also of course stay right here with us, our Karen Maginnis, Reynolds Wolf, Kathleen Koch our folks all over the storm.

WESTHOVEN: Now while Hanna rips up the East Coast, an even bigger Atlantic storm is barreling toward the U.S. right behind it, Ike right now a powerful category three hurricane could reach South Florida by Tuesday. In a couple of hours, 9:00 a.m. East Coast time, vacationers in the Keys will have to get out.

A mandatory evacuation order is going to take effect. Ike is projected to pass through the Florida Straits and into the Gulf of Mexico, but forecasters are warning it is too early to know for sure what Ike will do or even how big it might get.

In Pompano Beach, just north of Miami, sandbag brigades are already at work. Ike is such a large hurricane that heavy rain is likely over a wide area, so walls of sandbags can help protect homes and businesses from possible flooding. You see a lot of people there just trying to get ready for the storm, trying to protect themselves and their homes from some damage.

Florida Governor Charlie Crist has scheduled a news conference for later this morning to brief residents on Hurricane Ike. CNN will keep an eye on that. We'll bring you all the latest and any updates from the governor's office as soon as we know.

HOLMES: Yes, talking about Ike. Ike is on the way. Hanna here right now, that storm roughing up the Southeast Coast a bit this morning.

WESTHOVEN: We've got our reporters all over this story, as we've been telling you (INAUDIBLE) this morning, plus we will be checking in with our affiliates for the latest so keep it right here.


WESTHOVEN: Good morning. People along the Carolina coast will soon find out if their storm preparations paid off. Tropical Storm Hanna made landfall about three hours ago along the South Carolina and North Carolina coast. Charleston, South Carolina, was prepared for the worst.

You're seeing firefighters here, they filled sandbags for the local residents and businesses in case of flooding. Workers also cut a lot of plywood to board up windows and buildings all across the city. You can see them securing one building that could be used as a shelter. They were also looking to board up and take steps to protect a historic city hall building by covering the windows with a vinyl material.

HOLMES: As we've been talking about Hanna, it hasn't been this powerful destructive storm necessarily, but it doesn't take a huge storm to cause a whole lot of damage. Beachfront property is great but that beach erosion can be a problem and a constant worry for people who have property right there along the surface.

WESTHOVEN: Yeah, Josh Levs has got some before and after pictures to show us because really it can be so risky when you build your home (INAUDIBLE) it's a dream home. But you've got to be careful.

JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, you have to be very careful. Obviously there's a financial danger and there's also the broader environmental implications. You know when we hear about this storm one of the first things we think of when we picture the beach is what's going on with surfers. And that's actually (INAUDIBLE) dot- com. Let's see if we can close in on this picture for just a moment so you can see.

What we're seeing right now is a surfer goes airborne and waves generated by Tropical Storm Hanna. That's over at Myrtle Beach. Now this is the first images a lot of people get. And later this morning we'll be keeping an eye on the surfers and some cameras we have at a series of places where a lot of surfing takes place.

But what a lot of people don't think about at the time is the longer- term implications of those storms and how you actually lose beach. Karen before was talking about beach erosion. You just mentioned before and after pictures, let's go to them right now. These come to us from the U.S. Geology Survey.

We're going to start off with these. Now these are from Hurricane June in 2004. But just take look at what's happened there. I mean you have a home that was built to be beachfront property. You can see all the trees around it, a lush area. And that was expected to be plenty of room from the water.

Obviously that didn't happen. You can see the erosion there. And the green that was around those home just gone. That's over at Floralton (ph) Beach. Let's go to the next one now. You're going to see really similar imagery here.

Again, people building these areas, whether it's hotels or homes, beachfront property, right up there against the water. And you see that thick stretch of beach over on the left of your screen then on the right it's just gone. It's eroding.

You've got the water moving its way farther in. And sometimes with major storms, this happens. Now let's scroll through some more photos. I'm going to tell you all what's going on with beach erosion in America. According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, close to half of U.S. beaches are experiencing significant erosion.

Now it's not just because of these storms, but these are one of the main reasons that they do happen. And these not only cause these economic problems but you've also got lost land for agriculture, lost wildlife habitat, so it has broader environmental implications as well. Now we don't know yet where today's storm might actually cause this kind of thing, but we are hearing that it's possible all of the way up the entire coast.

In fact, I'm going to go to the map on behind me. And we're seeing this today from our weather people. Let's close in on it just a moment. If you're not near a TV today, you want know where the storm is you'll be able to follow it along here. But it's possible that we could see beach erosion along the entire East Coast of the United States, including some popular areas, some stretches of Long Island and some other stretches of the outer banks of North Carolina.

Continuous loss of this kind of property and obviously you've got the environmental impact and the economic impact through that whole region. So that's one big thing we want to keep an eye on today, guys. Throughout the day as we see this go on, and before I toss it back to you I just want to show you one more thing that we've got pulled up for you here.

We have a series of photos on We're focusing on the United States today, but we're not going to forget the damage that's already been caused in the region of Haiti, Dominican Republic, as the storm was passing through. You can see some of the people really are struggling to deal in the wake of what happened over there.

So keep it here with us at CNN throughout the day. We're going to keep an eye on all angles of this storm and let you know what's running ahead with Ike, guys.

HOLMES: All right.


HOLMES: We will. We appreciate you, Josh.

WESTHOVEN: Yeah, thank you. Thanks, Josh. That's actually a perfect segue for where we're going next because Haiti has been slammed by a series of storms, deadly in some cases. Some people lost everything to rain and flood waters. Now Hurricane Ike could be headed that way, so let's take a look at how they're coping.


WESTHOVEN: Good morning. And welcome back to CNN where we are watching Tropical Storm Hanna. The storm came ashore around three hours ago with winds around 70 miles an hour; that is just below category one hurricane strength. You can see a lot of different pictures here. We've got pictures -- I can barely read the writing, it's so small, but you can see along the coast there coming in.

Hanna made landfall right along the North and South Carolina border. We have already seen some flooding in those areas. Here are some pictures of Myrtle Beach. So we're going to be tracking the storm all morning long and we're going to have camera positions, reporters from all different places on the coast so you can see how it's happening.

HOLMES: Well Haiti is hurting right about now. This impoverished country has seen pretty much a relentless hurricane season. Earlier this week it was hit hard by Tropical Storm Hanna. Those flood waters still have yet to recede and now Hurricane Ike is the problem and is threatening a round two.


VICENTE RAIMUNDO, E.U. HUMANITARIAN AID BUREAU: For this country, the Western Hemisphere, is facing very high levels of acute (INAUDIBLE) malnutrition and (INAUDIBLE) morality. That's a severe problem in itself. Now after that, we have had a so-called food crisis because the increase cost of goods and cereal and now we are having (INAUDIBLE) disasters. All this together is placing this country in the brink of very serious problem.


HOLMES: Hanna killed more than 130 people in Haiti earlier this week. Today U.N. peacekeepers and aid groups are on the grounds there. They're trying to get relief supplies to the tens of thousands of victims. CNN's (INAUDIBLE) has more now.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER (voice-over): The most ancient means of transportation, foot and hoof all that's available now for some in storm-battered Haiti. But this is a temporary reprieve after weeks of storms bombarded the island nation, killing some 200 people and leaving thousands homeless.

PIERRE NAZARINE, STORM VICTIM (through translator): Until this moment we haven't been able to go back and find anything. Everything was carried away by the flood. There is nothing left of our things. Everything is gone. All of the things from everybody is there under the mud.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: A country the World Bank rates the poorest in the Western Hemisphere struggling to survive yet another disaster. This time, the northern city of Gonaives was hardest hit when Tropical Storm Hanna passed through left devastated, isolated. This part of Haiti is prone to extreme flooding that will continue to challenge relief efforts as Hurricane Ike now approaches.

JOEL TRIMBLE, CO-FOUNDER, HAITI FOR CHRIST: Even if the rain doesn't fall down in Gonaives, it's like a big basin. If it falls in the mountains above, it will go down those hills and it's -- you know there -- there is water as much as 10 feet deep at one point, now it's back down to two or three feet in a lot of places.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Some aid finally arrived in Gonaives Friday as relief teams rushed to quell starvation and thirst. This U.N. ship delivered 50,000 bottles of water, 19 tons of high energy biscuits, and water purification tablets.

TRIMBLE: Drinking water is the biggest problem. That water that everybody has been wading in now for days is contaminated with dead carcasses of animals and cadavers of people. So that water is extremely, the bacterial level is very high, so they need to get the people out of the water and they need to get them clean drinking water and food supplies.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: But with another storm fast approaching, these Haitians trudge through the murky remnants of the last in a hurricane season that's been nothing short of relentless.



HOLMES: We've been talking about a trio of storms here. You had Gustav first. Hanna just made her way through and now Ike is bearing down taking aim at South Florida. Relief agencies certain on the move. There are ways you can help as well these storm victims.

You can go to our Web site and go to our "Impact Your World" page. You'll find links to organizations who are offering assistance. Again that is

WESTHOVEN: And Hanna made landfall along the Carolina coastline. We're going to check in with meteorologist Reynolds Wolf. He'll be live from North Carolina right near where Hanna made landfall.


WESTHOVEN: Good morning. Welcome back. I'm Jennifer Westhoven in for Betty Nguyen.

HOLMES: And hello to you all. I'm T.J. Holmes. We are keeping an eye on Tropical Storm Hanna right now battering the coast of the Carolinas this morning. You're looking at a couple of pictures there of some of that surf kicking up, the wind kicking up as well. The storm made landfall about three hours ago. A lot of high winds, a lot of heavy rain. There are also two other storms on the way.


GOV. MIKE EASLEY, NC: We're watching Hurricane Ike and Josephine, for that matter, very carefully. It's too early to tell what that track is going to be right now. It may, you know, it may hit Southern Florida, could follow the Isabelle track which came here in '03 or could really go into the Gulf. So we don't know where it's going to be. We're taking the position that it's coming here when we don't know. And I don't want people worried about that right now but I do want them to know that we're worrying about it and we're preparing for it.

Talking about Ike and Josephine there. Josephine actually expected to maybe just spin out in the Atlantic, maybe not a threat certainly that Ike is anticipated to be in Florida. We do want to head back now to Tropical Storm Hanna. That storm is here right now. That's our immediate problem. Reynolds Wolf is in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, this morning, that's just north of where Hanna made landfall. So what's happening right there where it hit?

REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Hey, T.J., coming to you from Wrightsville Beach, as you mentioned, the wind is, again, as I mentioned, comes and goes. The rain has actually picked up a little bit since our last update. I will tell you that the storm obviously is well onshore. But we're getting the back side of that storm. A lot of the wind coming around, the moisture is feeding in from the ocean. We're feeling the effects of it this morning.

You know a lot of times the big threat you have with a storm like this, especially tropical storm or say tropical depression, is not so much in terms of the wind but rather the issue you have with it is all that moisture, the potential flooding. But thankfully this storm is such a quick mover, moving on storm and farther up the coast that you don't expect a great deal of flooding.

Let me show you video from yesterday. Yesterday here at Wrightsville Beach, video showing you, again the sign up. We had all the information out. The tropical storm warnings in effect. You also see the buoys rising and falling out there in the water. I will also show you some of that - you can see the homes here that have already been boarded up in a few places. Businesses too. Everyone getting ready for this storm.

But I got to tell you the people who are from here, the Tar Heels are used to this kind of activity. Certainly nothing new to them. And they take action very quickly. So what we're also going to see here for the rest of the morning, I'll imagine conditions will get a little bit better. I have to tell you, T.J., the big concern really is not what's going to happen here in the Carolinas, rather Ike in the Atlantic. That is a holy terror for this time. Anyone happens to be in South Florida, certainly needs to be on guard. Still, there's a chance that storm could zoom right through the Strait of Florida, north Cuba and south of Keys and go right into the Gulf of Mexico where it's anybody's guess where that storm might go next. Back to you.

HOLMES: My goodness. Gustav, Hanna, Ike, Josephine, they're just lining up right now. Reynolds, we appreciate you this morning. We'll be checking back in with you later.

WESTHOVEN: Going to move a little further south now to Kathleen Koch who is live in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, this morning. Kathleen, what are you seeing from down there? How are the winds and rain?

KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jennifer, things have slacked off. It's vast improvement over when Hanna was roaring in here in the 11:00 hour and then through the overnight. I will tell you I've been speaking to some of the employees here at our hotel because they've had an opportunity to be out and about. I just talked to someone who had driven some 10 miles from his home to the hotel and I said, so how was it? Did you see flooding? Did you see damage? Did you have to dodge downed branches or trees in the roadway? And he said, I saw nothing. Everything looked absolutely fine. He said, and I drove very carefully because it was dark and I was worried about branches and other debris.

But he said, you know, it's been no worse than really a very heavy thunderstorm, a typical nor'easter. Obviously this was no Gustav. This was no Isabelle, talking about storm that hit the region back in 2003. So people here are quite relieved. It could have been a lot worse. Jennifer?

WESTHOVEN: They are. Kathleen, are you worried at all that when you're talking to people that because the storm didn't pack so much of a punch, we saw so many people evacuate. So are they definitely taking, you know, words ability evacuation seriously? Are they still thinking about how powerful the storms can be?

KOCH: Jennifer, actually, when it comes to evacuation, that was not a big issue right here in this area. The people who evacuated were the tourists. This area generally on this weekend after Labor Day would have between 100,000, 150,000 tourists, filling the hotels up and down the Grand Strand.

And we saw so many vacancy signs. As a matter of fact, our hotel went from 80 percent occupancy to 30 percent because of Hanna. Those were the ones that got out. The local residents, again, they only had a voluntary evacuation in place issued by the governor for low-lying areas. People in mobile homes, people in trailers. So they didn't leave. They stayed. They weren't told to leave.

Obviously there's a concern that, well, what if the big one comes. Then would they be complacent and not come? But I think, again, people were facing the reality this was likely only going to come onshore as a tropical storm. It hasn't caused much damage. So it appears to me certainly in this case that they did behave appropriately.

WESTHOVEN: That is good news. Thank you so much, Kathleen Koch. Meteorologist Karen Maginnis checking both Hanna and Ike.

And we have so much to tell you about as well. Right now it's positioned -- it, being Tropical Storm Hanna, is 25 miles to the west northwest of Wilmington. Now, that's right along that extreme southeastern coast. This is kind of the radar view we're seeing with most of the moisture inland. It's along the western and northern edge of Hurricane Hanna. Hanna is packing winds of 60 miles an hour. Let's show you a picture out of Oak Island, North Carolina. And show you some of the beach and just how it looks right there. There you can see kind of a heavy surf. This is the kind of thing that can produce that beach erosion. But we really haven't seen a whole lot of that because the system is winding down fairly rapidly.

I say that with a cautionary note. And that cautionary note is, you're going to see rip currents here and as this thing races off towards the northeast and we're going to see in its wake the potential for tornadoes. There's a tornado watch in effect until 1:00 this afternoon that extends all of the way up towards the Boston area.

We're looking at gusty winds and heavy downpours, not yet, but as we go later on in the afternoon. Where you see the watch box. That's where we've got that tornado watch which has been issued. Some of the wind gusts over the last few hours, generally speaking, between about 35 and about 55 miles an hour. Here is the latest information from the National Hurricane Center as of 5:00 a.m. Information from the hurricane center says the winds are at 60 miles an hour. But this is a compact system. Never reached its full potential. But I will say that it did produce a number of fatalities in Haiti when it was making its way through there, 137 at least fatalities.

I want to get to Ike before we get too far. Here is Hanna right along the Eastern Seaboard. This is Ike, already a Category 3, expected to move across the southern Bahamas. Computer models, what we call spaghetti models, could move across the northern coast of Cuba. Maybe Central Cuba. This will be the third or fourth time they've been it in about a month. Then in the Gulf of Mexico, about the beginning of this upcoming week. So, T.J. and Jennifer, this one, here we go again, we've got September is one of those crazy months that the hurricanes really start to kick up. And here we are.

HOLMES: Here we are. Those little -- that cone of uncertainty and those projections, you never know where that sucker is going to go just yet. Keep an eye on Ike. That one sounds pretty serious. Karen, we appreciate it, we will see you again shortly. And if course, you can depend on us and we are depending on those folks. See a couple of live pictures out of Wrightsville Beach and Oak Island. See a reporter there on the left. A couple of our affiliates there always helping us out and telling these stories.

There he is. He's getting drenched there. There's another live picture looking at some of those ominous skies there's in Oak Island, North Carolina. We'll be checking in to see the best of their coverage throughout the morning. Just another way we're bringing you all the angles on this developing weather situation.

The other situation we're keeping an eye on, Hurricane Ike. A monster of a Category 3 charging towards Florida it appears right now. It is wasting to time to let Tropical Storm Hanna get out of the way. This one is on the way. Too far out in the Atlantic right now to really be sure exactly where it's going. But Ike could -- could make landfall by the middle of next week in Cuba or Florida.

This morning, vacationers in the Keys, they're being asked to get out. Mandatory evacuation orders are going to take effect. Residents there as you see in this video, they are doing what they know how to do. Get supplies and board up. Miami on alert and keeping an eye on Ike.


MAYOR CARLOS ALVAREZ, MIAMI: Most of you know, we are in the cone of error for Hurricane Ike. Ike could be a real threat to South Florida. We need to pay close attention to this hurricane.


HOLMES: People are prepare for possible evacuations ahead of Hurricane Ike. They are lined up at gas stations in South Florida. Stores like Home Depot stocking up for some of - that video you saw, these are the gas lines here -- stocking up on supplies and residents and businesses are going to need.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got three truckloads of plywood, 14 bunks each. I have two more trucks of sand rolling in. A whole truck filled with water.


HOLMES: And as we mentioned, Ike could approach Florida by early next week.

WESTHOVEN: So people in Florida are also busy securing their homes and making sure they've got plenty of food and water, everything they need to out-last the storm. Robin Simmons has more from Homestead. She is with affiliate WSVN.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It just seems like from all the things I've seen on the news, it seems like this is the one to prepare for. So I'm doing to take it serious and pr pair myself accordingly and protect my family.

ROBIN SIMMONS, WSVN TV CORRESPONDENT: Jimmy Shields (ph) is originally from Los Angeles, and earthquakes have given him the appreciation for the power of Mother Nature. His hurricane shutters are going up for the first time this season. The track of Hurricane Ike has lots of people in Homestead remembering another monster storm, Hurricane Andrew. They're gearing up, getting cash and gassing up. This is actually the second place you've come to get gas?


SIMMONS: Tell me what happened.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Over there, no more gas.

SIMMONS: Mirabel (ph) says her husband has a weekend honey-do list with a hurricane twist.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My husband works during the week, so if we wait later, we won't have a chance to do it. He has to do it now.

SIMMONS: In Homestead and across Miami Dade County, officials are warning against complacency, if you're not ready, do not wait.

ALVAREZ: Canned food, a flashlight, a battery operated radio, a phone with a cord, check your hurricane shutters. Make sure you have the screws for them. Determine how you will secure your home in case that it becomes necessary.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody, prepare yourself. Put your shutters up. Get your rations, your water. Make sure your generators run. And good luck to everybody.


WESTHOVEN: Again, that was Robin Simmons from one of our affiliate stations. A lot of people right? The honey do list gets longer this weekend.

Yeah. Florida Governor Charlie Crist does have a news conference for later this morning. They want to brief residents on Hurricane Ike, what to expect and how to prepare. We will bring it all from you, and any updates, everything from the governor's office as soon as we get the latest.

HOLMES: As always during big breaking news events and weather events, hurricanes, tropical storms, we get a lot of I-Reports from our CNN viewers.

WESTHOVEN: Yeah. And Josh Levs is tracking some of those. Josh, what have you got so far?

JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We're getting flooding, skies turning black and some very daring surfers.


HOLMES: We're keeping an eye on severe weather this morning. Specifically, Tropical Storm Hanna which has hit the coast there, as you see, hit the Carolinas. We're keeping an eye on our live affiliates there. This is one picture. Not sure where this one is exactly. But some of our affiliates helping us to tell this story. It came onshore three hours ago. Winds about 70 mile answer hour. That is below Category 1 hurricane strength. That is why we have a tropical storm instead of a hurricane when it actually made landfall. That landfall was along the North and South Carolina border. Seen some flooding in those areas. That is still a little bit of a threat. A little bit as well.

Let's listen in to one of our affiliate reports, Gordon Dale from WYFF TV in Myrtle Beach.


GORDON DALE, WYFF TV CORRESPONDENT: Unlike what we had for most of the night with Hanna which is periods of rain as those different bands came ashore. Since the storm sort of stayed offshore of us and hit a little bit to the north at 3:20 this morning. We're getting a real gust right here. That we've been getting pretty consistent rain throughout the night. For most of the night coming east obviously as those counter clockwise winds moving past us to the north. Now that it's past us, it's very sharp winds whipping back around to the west. At least pushing whatever little storm surge there was back out to sea here.

But it was about 9:00 last night, actually a little later than a lot of folks thought when we really started seeing the winds and rain pick up. By 11:00 here at our hotel, the power went out for about 30 minutes. When we went out and checked, all of the hotels along Ocean Boulevard, if you're familiar with Myrtle Beach, they line this whole area all of the way down the ocean here, all of them were dark and dark as far as I could see. For about half hour, then came back on. We lost power again. Right now though we don't have reports of power outages. Most of what we have seen is not an issue of flooding but these winds are strong enough to knock down a lot of tree limbs and branches. And that's one of the things that has caused power lines to go down. It's also knocked down awnings, knocked down sides of the aluminum siding of some buildings.

So that wind has been a pretty consistent problem all night long. And at the very least it's been a noisy problem all night long. Now we're going to go back and watch this morning, Kelly, and see just how much rainfall we got. The last estimate I saw was an average of about three inches for all of Myrtle Beach. And this was several hours ago, with some places getting as much as six inches of rain and there is the fear that some places could end up with as much as 10 inches of rain. Kelly, you know that much rain in this short period of time, that's where you get these flash floodings. And from Hanna, at least, that's probably going to be to biggest problem we see.


WESTHOVEN: Well, I'm not Kelly, of course, I'm Jennifer, but you know, that's help out from our affiliate reporters in the field. Seeing lots of wind, lots of rain, some intermittent blackouts there. We've got CNN I-reporters out, too. They're covering Tropical Storm Hanna long before it made landfall and our Josh Levs has been sorting through all the submissions of people, sending in, looking for the best ones. You've got ominous skies and surfers, huh? LEVS: Exactly. Nice. And hello, Jennifer, good to have you with us today. You hit the ground running with us. Absolutely. You've got some really strong pictures already. Some came in last night. We're getting a lot this morning. Just piecing through them. we talked you through how to send them in.

I got some behind but we're going to start off with some we have the graphic for you so you can take a look. Let's look at these coming from us from Hillary Pierce, these were taken in Wilmington, North Carolina care, just as she says was going home. This was already late yesterday. Just before sunset where she said she was just trying to get around her own town there. Obviously there's a lot of flooding going on. I think we have one more for her. Let's take a look at that. Then we're going to go, there you go. You can see yet again, really difficult to travel yesterday.

Let's jump in behind me now. I want to show you some things just coming in to I mentioned before that we have some pictures of surfers. Let's close in on this right here. This is just coming to us today from Palm Beach County. Jim took these for us. He's one of our repeat I-Reporter. And he saw some daring surfers. I'm going to emphasize these people are doing this. You can see the waves. We're not telling people to go surf and we're certainly not encouraging you to go into dangerous circumstance. We do get these pictures, we want to share them with you.

Let's go back over here and show you a few more before I bring you back to them. This was called high tide and Hanna. This is coming to us St. John's County Marine Rescue. They're keeping a close eye. You can see the splashing coming in. I'll bang through a few more. This one comes to us from Mark Pacifico (ph) in Summerville, South Carolina. Again, this is late yesterday. Already flooding in the streets.

This is called "Hanna no joke for South Florida." This one is coming to us from Jim, Jim Talcom (ph), same guy who managed to catch the surfers over there. If you take a look at this area you can physically feel the splashing as you see that photo.

You want to know how you can do it, we talk you through the steps. It's really easy. Send us your stories, your photos, your videos, at But as always, Jennifer, I always tell people, be careful, do not go to any dang per if you have pictures in a safe way, we are going to talk with you, make sure you took them safely and then we'll share them on the air.


WESTHOVEN: Thank you.

LEVS: You got it. Thanks.

HOLMES: All right. We were talking this morning.

It's great to have beachfront property but, you know, sometimes it's not the best thing when beach erosion is going on. That's certainly going on across parts of North Carolina, South Carolina. Certainly people are going to keep an eye on that today. We want to check in now with our Greg Barnes with WTVD, one of our affiliates there, and listen to him talking about that beach erosion in Oak Island, North Carolina.


GREG BARNES, WTVD CORRESPONDENT: We should find out within the next 30 to 40 minutes just about the extent of some of the beach erosion down here.

As we said, it's very blustery right now. The winds blowing due west. We've still got a little bit of sand blowing. But it's nowhere near as bad it was an hour ago. Good news is as I look east now down towards the east part of the beach, I do see vegetation, I do see a vegetation line. That is a good indication that those sand dunes down there probably held and we may just have some wash over. We may have had some cut-through. Looks like from this point that we can see vegetation down there. That's good news for the sand dune.

As soon as we get through with this break we're going to ride down there and check it out and have pictures for you at the next break. Back to you guys.


HOLMES: We are going to take a break here. That was one of our affiliate reporters there on tape telling us about that beach erosion in North Carolina. Again, our affiliates helping us tell the story. We'll be checking in with them a lot this morning. The mid Atlantic right now, I heard some people describe it as a conga line really for storms. Really, it's cranking out storm after storm after storm right about now.

WESTHOVEN: We're talking about Hanna this morning, right, but the one that everybody is going to be talking about in a few days a Hurricane Ike. This is an amazing photo. From the International Space Station two days ago when it was a Category 4. I heard it was better than the size of Texas.



WESTHOVEN: Well, the big news this morning, of course, is Hanna. Battering the Carolina coast. But more evacuees from Hurricane Gustav are just starting to return to the Gulf Coast. Yesterday the first day that residents were allowed back in Houma, Louisiana. We've got pictures. Some people waiting in line at a home improvement store. They were in line for almost two hours to try and get supplies for rebuilding.

There's a train taking evacuees from Memphis, Tennessee, back home to Louisiana. That arrived yesterday. An estimated 18,000 people left New Orleans on trains and buses provide bid the government. Of course, countless more leaving in their cars. People rushing to the Gulf Coast just starting to get a look at the damage left by Gustav.

We've got a 35-foot fishing boat that was washed on to a highway by the storm. There we go. Look at that. That's something, huh? So a trail of these storms. Gustav, Hanna, Ike now, taking aim at South Florida. So the relief agencies, they are mobilizing, getting into gear to help people. And there are ways that you can help the storm victims. And you can find out all about what you can do at "Impact Your World" page. Great page, right. You can find links to all kinds of organizations offering assistance. At We'll make a difference.

HOLMES: Let's turn to Josh Levs now keep an eye on nasty video of the powerful storm moving this way. And Josh, these things are big and they're scary, but you know some of the pictures are cool and it's kind of a beautiful shot.

LEVS: Exactly. That's how we've got to play it carefully because it's a beautiful picture you're at to see. Obviously here on the ground this is the reality of Ike. A lot of people in that, as you were talking about before, the cone of uncertainty, concerned about what might hit them. We know this is the focus. But the number one video on yesterday was what we're going to show you right now. Let's take a look at this.

It is pretty stunning. It's this image of Ike. There you go. It's an image of Ike. Actually a still picture that kind of rotates. It's an image taken from the International Space Station taken by NASA. That's what it looked like from out there. Looking kind of upwards at earth from this station. And what we're told, and I was looking at the NASA Web site about this. They're saying that they could physically watch it in these images churning into the Caribbean, working its way kind of toward the whole Atlantic section. It is, it's a sunning shot. Basically all that white that you're seeing in the center is the swirling pattern from Ike. It is very, very big. It's not bigger than a U.S. state but it's obviously very big, very powerful.

And they're saying these are some of the clearest images they have had on the International Space Station of the hurricane. So there you go.

And before I toss it back I want you to know to keep tuned in to CNN. If for any reason you're not near a TV and you want to know the latest on Ike and Hanna, all you need to do is go to We basically have the latest weather information for you updated all day long.

Just click on the main story, click on maps and you will see what we know about both Hanna and Ike. I've got Ike behind me there. And if you want to you can check out that video again, T.J. It's cool and beautiful stuff.

HOLMES: All right. It is a monster still that can do all kinds of unbeautiful things here. Josh, we appreciate it. See you again soon.

LEVS: Thanks.

HOLMES: You're in the CNN Center right now. Certainly hurricane headquarters for you on this Saturday morning. We have got a couple of monster storms we're keep an eye on. Hanna hitting us now. Ike is on the way. We're on top of all of it. Good morning to you. I'm T.J. Holmes.

WESTHOVEN: And I'm Jennifer Westhoven. I'm in for Betty Nguyen. Storms hitting, storms gaining strength. The aftermath that just won't go away. Four hours ago Tropical Storm Hanna made landfall at the North/South Carolina border.

HOLMES: Ike is the other one right behind. Not far behind at all. It's a Category 3 right now. Still trying to figure out exactly where it's going to go. Tourists evacuating the Florida Keys this morning.

WESTHOVEN: And hundreds of thousands of people in Louisiana are in the dark. They're still feeling the effects of Hurricane Gustav. No power yet.

HOLMES: We're going to go back and start with Hurricane Hanna. Excuse me, this sucker is not a hurricane, this is a tropical storm. So it's not as bad. It could still cause some problems.

Yeah. The tropical storm hit the Carolinas just a few hours ago and it is moving quickly. We've been covering the story from angles. We've got our Reynolds Wolf out in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. Dan Lothian on North Carolina's Outer Banks and Kathleen Koch is in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

HOLMES: And we're also keeping an eye on all our affiliates looking at pictures of the wind and flooding. And to top it off we're tracking the storm in our severe weather center to see where exactly it is heading.