Tags: hanna | eastern | seaboard

Hanna Could Force Millions to Flee Eastern Seaboard

Friday, 05 Sep 2008 04:25 PM

By Stewart Stogel

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Tropical Storm Hanna could force the evacuation of millions of residents and serious power outages are expected this weekend as the storm winds up the eastern seaboard.

The National Weather Service issued flash flood warnings and predicted winds approaching 50 mph and more than 4 inches of rain when t he storm hits the New York metro area Saturday. As many as 2.3 million residents may have to be evacuated from coastal areas, said Joe Bruno of the New York Office of Emergency Management.

Hanna will affect more than 10 states from North Carolina to New Hampshire, and Con Ed also warns that the region is likely to experience some serious power outages.

The nasty weather also is expected to snarl the schedules of several major sports.

In New York, the U.S. Tennis Open, which already has experienced weather delays, is entering its final weekend. The women’s final and the men’s semis are scheduled for Saturday in the last leg of the 2008 Grand Slam. The U.S. Tennis Association is making contingency plans, which might include moving matches indoors to Madison Square Garden in Midtown Manhattan.

It would be the first time in almost 30 years that weather has delayed a U.S. Open final.

Novak Djokovic, who squares off with Roger Federer in one of the men's semis, welcomed the inclement weather: "I think it's going to go in my favor. Physically, I've been struggling in this tournament, so ... any extra day of relaxation and just recovery would be good for me, of course."

Hanna also could wreak havoc with Major League Baseball, which is in the last stages of critical pennant races, and the National Football League, which officially kicks off in many eastern cities this weekend.

Any rained-out baseball games probably would need to be made up, rather than canceled. Rescheduling games could be problematical with less than a month remaining in the season.

On New York's Coney Island, Hanna also will put an exclamation point on the final chapter of a New York landmark. The legendary amusement park Astroland unexpectedly announced it will close its doors permanently on Sunday. Its expiring land lease was not renewed, the park's owners say.

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