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NEW YORK -- After killing 136 people in Haiti, Tropical Storm Hanna is on a northern trajectory abutting the U.S. Atlantic coastline and was expected to make landfall early Saturday morning near Wilmington, N.C. before quickly traveling north and dissipating near Cape Cod by Sunday evening.
In a statement, the Federal Emergency Management Agency advised residents in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina to develop emergency plans and prepare kits including medicine, food, water and batteries to support themselves for 72 hours. Virginia declared a state of emergency on Thursday, while South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford urged residents in two coastal counties to consider moving to higher ground.
"The U.S. is getting pounded this season," Jeff Masters, meteorology director of Weather Underground in Ann Arbor, Mich., told Bloomberg News. "The Carolinas will see winds near hurricane strength from Hanna. And Ike looks troubling, especially for Florida."
While Hanna was expected to produce high winds and significant rainfall, forecasters are following Hurricane Ike more closely as it might reach a Category 4 status early this week with Florida in its sights.
"It’s very unusual for a storm to explode the way Ike did last night," Jim Rouiller, meteorologist with Planalytics Inc. in Wayne, Pa., told Bloomberg News. "In a 24-hour period we went from a tropical storm to a Category 4 hurricane."
FEMA Administrator David Paulison compared Ike to the powerful Hurricane Andrew that devastated south Florida in 1992. "It could be very dangerous," he said during a conference call last week. "We’re going to be watching it very closely."