Nation & World

Hanna becomes a hurricane, Ike a tropical storm

Hello, Hanna. And hello, Ike.

While everyone watched to see what Hurricane Gustav would do to New Orleans, Hurricane Hanna and Tropical Storm Ike quietly and quickly developed Monday in the Atlantic.

Both could affect the southeastern United States in the not-too-distant future.

Hurricane Hanna was crawling west near Turks and Caicos as a Category 1 storm with 80 mph maximum sustained winds, forcing American Airlines to cancel some flights to and from the islands. And Tropical Storm Ike — the ninth named storm of this year's hurricane season — was halfway between here and Africa with 50 mph winds.

Hanna is projected to soak the Bahamas and then jog along Florida's East Coast before making landfall near North Florida or South Georgia by Friday. But the course could change.

"The area of uncertainty is very large at this point and could affect anywhere from South Florida to the Outer Banks of North Carolina," said Jessica Schauer Clark, a National Hurricane Center forecaster. "Everybody should keep an eye on it."

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist declared a state of emergency Monday hours before Hanna became a hurricane and Ike a tropical storm and while Hurricane Gustav's outer bands caused storm surges in the Florida Panhandle.

"We know that Hanna is out there," Crist said. "We don't know how strong she is going to be."

Added state meteorologist Ben Nelson: "Almost the entire East Coast of Florida has the same probability of receiving tropical storm-force winds."

Tropical Storm Ike is currently between the Cape Verde Islands and the Lesser Antilles, about 2,875 miles from Miami. It had maximum winds of about 50 mph and was moving steadily west on Monday.

Forecasters said it could grow into a hurricane by Wednesday. If it continues on its current path, it would be near Florida by early next week.

But wait, there's more.

Forecasters also are monitoring three other tropical weather systems in addition to Hurricane Gustav, Hurricane Hanna and Tropical Storm Ike.

One of the systems is just coming off the African coast and two are in the Central Atlantic. If one forms into the season's 10th named storm, it would be called Josephine.

Miami Herald staff writers Mary Ellen Klas and Jacqueline Charles contributed to this report.

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