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Keys evacuated as Ike blasts islands

Dangerous Hurricane Ike prompts Florida evacuations, Hanna leaves flooding, power outages behind

BALTIMORE | September 7, 2008

Residents of the Florida Keys were coping with an mandatory evacution in preparation for Hurricane Ike Sunday as residents along the Atlantic Coast were mopping up following Tropical Storm Hanna.

Visitors were ordered out of the Keys Saturday and the residents were asked to leave beginning 8 AM Sunday.

Saturday night Hurricane Ike tore into the Turks and Caicos Islands. A resident of South Caicos reported Sunday morning that most utility poles were down and that many roofs were damaged or had been blown off as a result of the hurricane.

Ike is predicted to cross the Southeastern Bahamas and northern Cuba, before moving into the Gulf of Mexico. According to the National Hurricane Center, it is unclear where the storm will go once it gets into the Gulf.

The Category 4 hurricane has taken a more southern route than was originally predicted. Last week, it appeared it might land solidly in southern Florida but forecasters warned Sunday that a slight jog north in the storm's current track could impact the state.

The storm is expected to weaken as it travels over Cuba but forecasters say it should restrengthen when it enters the Gulf of Mexico.

But for most residents in the Huntington neighborhood of Fairfax County, VA, Ike was far from their minds. Instead, they were coping Sunday with the aftermath of Tropical Storm Hanna which forced more than 50 people from their homes in flash flooding.

The fast-moving tropical storm knocked out power to thousands of homes, downed trees and closed roads. Emergency officials were inspecting a dam in Va. but otherwise damages along the eastern seaboard were relatively minor. Hanna, was "just a nice little tropical event," said Jim Eberwine, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Mount Holly, NJ.

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