Hanna heads for Carolinas

Posted September 5, 2008

— The Carolinas are bracing for Tropical Storm Hanna, which is expected to bring high winds and rain along the Atlantic Coast from South Carolina to Maine.

Some Southeastern states, including North Carolina, declared emergencies Thursday, and officials urged residents to head inland.

About 40 North Carolina counties are under severe weather watches or warnings, and more than 10 closings and delays are reported.

North and South Carolina could see effects from the storm start as early as Friday night. Forecasters expected Hanna to strengthen slightly before making landfall early Saturday.

As of 8 a.m. Friday, the National Weather Service says the storm had maximum sustained winds at 65 mph, was centered about 425 miles south of Wilmington and was moving northwest at about 18 mph.

"The storm is moving fast now," said WRAL Meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner. "Twenty miles per hour – that is fast for a tropical storm."

State of emergency

Gov. Mike Easley declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard and water rescue teams, and he urged residents to prepare for possible hits from Tropical Storm Hanna and Hurricane Ike.

"It now appears Hanna will be a Category 1 hurricane when it hits the North Carolina coast Saturday morning," Easley said. "Since the exact path is uncertain, everyone who lives in the coastal counties needs to be ready."

The twin threats of Hanna and Ike prompted Easley to issue the state of emergency, he said.

"It lets me legally activate all the resources the state has, (and) it's the first step to asking the federal government for assistance," Easley said.

The governor placed 270 National Guard members, 12 of the state's Swift Water Rescue teams and 144 state troopers on standby for immediate deployment.

"We also, for this particular storm, have six Blackhawk helicopters available both before and after the winds subside," Maj. Gen. William E. Ingram Jr., adjutant general of the North Carolina National Guard, said.

An emergency, bilingual hotline (1-888-835-9966 or TTY 1-877-877-1765) will begin 24-hour operations at 10 a.m. Friday. The hotline will provide weather updates, shelter locations, highway closings and, later, act as a referral service for those in need of help.

Forecasters could soon be getting less information about approaching storms, because some weather stations buoys have been removed or repositioned due to a lack of federal funding. Two buoys off Sunset Beach have been removed.

"It's the first information we get as the storm approaches," WRAL meteorologist Mike Maze said. "It's certainly disconcerting."

Hanna wasn't the only tropical weather system to watch.

Farther out to sea, Hurricane Ike was Category 3 strength, with winds up to 124 mph, as it spun westward across the Atlantic. It could arrive in the Bahamas on Sunday.

Tropical Storm Josephine was out there, too, spinning around with winds at about 50 mph, as of Friday morning.

Emergency plans laid across state

Counties across the state made emergency plans and considered evacuations, while others opened shelters.

New Hanover County officials asked residents to voluntarily evacuate the beaches, low-lying areas and mobile homes from 6 a.m. Friday.

Cape Lookout National Seashore superintendent Russell Wilson ordered visitors to leave uninhabited islands at the park north of Wilmington by 5 p.m.

Brunswick, Carteret and Onslow county officials said they would decide whether to call for evacuations after a conference call with state authorities Friday morning.

Three counties planned to open shelters on Friday:

  • Brunswick County: North Brunswick High School, 1395 Scorpion Drive, Leland; West Brunswick High School, 550 Whiteville Road, Shallotte; opening at 9 a.m.
  • New Hanover County: Eaton Elementary School, 6701 Gordon Road, Wilmington; Dorothy B. Johnson Elementary School, 1100 McRae St., Wilmington; and Noble Middle School, 6520 Market St. Wilmington (pets accepted); opening at noon.
  • Pender County: Malpass Corner Elementary School, 4992 Malpass Corner Road, Burgaw; Topsail Middle School, 17385 U.S. Highway 17, Hampstead; opening at 4 p.m.

Cape Fear Hospital and New Hanover Regional Medical Center have canceled all outpatient services scheduled after noon Friday. Outpatient clinics, Medical Mall and Coastal Family Medicine will close at that time. Normal hospital operations will resume Monday.

Tracking Hanna

Green dots on the map (below) represent counties that have announced emergency plans for Hanna. Blue dots show where WRAL news crews are throughout the state. The sun and clouds symbols show the locations of weather-data monitoring stations. Click those for updated local temperature, rainfall and wind statistics.



Due to the storm, WRAL-TV will broadcast news at 5 and 5:30 p.m. Friday.

The U.S. Open tennis tournament can be seen on WRAL NewsChannel, Time Warner cable ch. 252, starting at 5 p.m.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • Dr. Dataclerk Sep 5, 2008

    As another poster noted, I guess I can just forget about being able to watch any Saturday ball games or whatever on local TV. (Yes, it's raining in Wilmington...CLICK...there is a lot of rain in Morehead City...CLICK...the surf is up in Kill Devil Hills...CLICK...the people in the Tidewater area are expecting a lot of rain.....CLICK OFF!)

    Maybe, honey, this would be a great time for you to read a good book. Ann Rules has some good book. Go to your library now and get several to keep you busy. Then you will have to be so concern about WRAL bring the whether report to the public eye.

  • 050462 Sep 5, 2008


  • FE Sep 5, 2008

    How do you "loose a home"?

    How does a tree "lay" everywhere? (see chickens for comparison)

    Probably just a side effect of too much "live team coverage" viewing, I suppose.

    As another poster noted, I guess I can just forget about being able to watch any Saturday ball games or whatever on local TV. (Yes, it's raining in Wilmington...CLICK...there is a lot of rain in Morehead City...CLICK...the surf is up in Kill Devil Hills...CLICK...the people in the Tidewater area are expecting a lot of rain.....CLICK OFF!)

  • FE Sep 5, 2008

    Some local stations may as well call themselves "The Weather Channel."

    And then there are the cable channels with the endless radar loops - how far can a hurricance travel in thirty minutes???

    .....anything to get the viewer, I guess!

  • hkypky Sep 5, 2008

    And before the MYR WRAL Hurricane Fan Clubbers chime in .... No, I am not going to move.

  • nodoginthisfight Sep 5, 2008

    YAWN.........someone wake me when there is some REAL NEWS!!!!!!

  • wiley14 Sep 5, 2008

    WRAL, I have some questions:

    - Who will be the unlucky reporter to go down and do a live broadcast when the storm hits? We always need someone to tell us that the wind is blowing really strong, it's raining cats & dogs, and that stuff is flying off buildings. Otherwise, we'd just think it's a thunderstorm.

    - How many teams will be dispatched to local grocery stores to monitor the sales of bread, milk, and eggs? Apparently, french toast can get you through any weather event - be it hurricane or snowstorm.

    - Finally, when will the mandatory spot about sales at Lowes and/or Home Depot be shown? I don't want to miss it...

  • hkypky Sep 5, 2008

    "You don't have to watch it."

    Well yes you do. Cuz if it ain't WRAL, it's WTVD, etc., etc. and if they are not interrupting the broadcasts, they have 20% of the screen real estate taken up with banners and crawlers.

    Don't misunderstand, I'm not advocating "no coverage" rather appropriate coverage.

  • Space Mountain Sep 5, 2008

    You don't have to watch it.

  • Commentor5 Sep 5, 2008

    hkypky "Setting up TV weather camp coverage at 5pm or similar, storm after storm after storm just gets to be a bit much."

    I couldn't agree more - gee, I've often wondered if the news producers, anchors, etc. actually read what its viewers write about its news content....apparently, they don't.