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US monitors new storms after Gustav hits southern coast

by Staff Writers
Miami (AFP) Sept 2, 2008
US officials were keeping a close eye on another hurricane in the Caribbean and a tropical storm that formed in the Atlantic, posing a potential threat after Hurricane Gustav battered the US Gulf Coast.

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said Monday preparations were already underway as Hanna hit the Turks and Caicos Islands, with a forecast that it would head toward the eastern US coast.

Tropical Storm Ike, meanwhile, formed further east and a tropical depression -- the 10th of the 2008 hurricane season -- has emerged in the far east Atlantic as of early Tuesday, according to the National Hurricane Center.

"It's a little early to tell where Ike is going to go, but we clearly have to be getting ready for Hanna and we're working with the states in the potential target area to make sure they're getting ready to do what they have to do," Chertoff told CNN.

Hanna was a Category One storm -- the weakest on the five-level Saffir-Simpson scale -- blowing winds of 130 kilometers (80 miles) per hour, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said.

The hurricane was nearly stationary just northwest of the Turks and Caicos Islands, the center said in its latest advisory.

Hanna was expected to produce four to eight inches of rain over the central and southeastern Bahamas and Turks and Caicos, with isolated maximums of 12 inches, it said.

Up to eight inches of rain could also fall over the mountainous terrain of eastern Cuba and Hispaniola, the island shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic, where the downpour could trigger mudslides and flash floods.

At least 77 people died in Haiti after the impoverished country was struck by Gustav, which blasted Louisiana with powerful winds and rain as a Category Two hurricane on Monday. Gustav later weakened as it passed overland, downgraded to a tropical storm.

Ike was further out to sea, 2,250 kilometers (1,400 miles) east of the Leeward Islands, packing winds of near 85 kilometers (50 miles) per hour, the hurricane center said.

The storm could become a hurricane on Tuesday or Wednesday, it said.

In the far east Atlantic, a tropical depression had formed and was expected to expand into a tropical storm later on Tuesday, the hurricane center said.

With maximum sustained winds of about 55 kilometers (35 miles) per hour, the tropical depression was located about 170 miles southeast of the southernmost Cape Verde Islands off the western coast of Africa, it said.

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Hanna becomes hurricane off Bahamas
Miami (AFP) Sept 1, 2008
Tropical Storm Hanna on Monday developed into a full-fledged hurricane east of the Bahamas in the Atlantic ocean, US officials reported, as deadly Hurricane Gustav pounded the Gulf Coast near New Orleans.

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