GONAIVES, Haiti Haiti's government says the death toll from Tropical Storm Hanna has more than doubled to 137, with most of the deaths coming in the flooded port city of Gonaives.
The Ministry of the Interior and the Civil Protection Department issued statements Thursday saying that 80 of the deaths were in Gonaives, which has been almost entirely cut off by floodwaters from Hanna.
Virtual lakes have formed over every road in the city and officials are attempting to get food and water to residents who were stranded.
Hanna roared along the edge of the Bahamas on Thursday ahead of a possible hurricane hit on the Carolinas. Hurricane Ike, a still-more-dangerous Category 4 storm, was advancing from the east.
Hanna was forecast to pass east of the Atlantic archipelago late Thursday before reaching the coast of North or South Carolina by Saturday, but the National Hurricane Center said Hanna's sprawling bands of outer winds are likely to hit the U.S. far sooner.
Hanna's heart was about 75 miles east-southeast of Marsh Harbor in the Bahamas Thursday evening and about 580 miles south-southeast of Wilmington, N.C. It was moving toward the northwest near 14 mph.
Its maximum sustained winds were 65 mph, but forecasters said it could become a hurricane before hitting the U.S.
A hurricane watch was issued for Edisto Beach, S.C., north to the Outer Banks of North Carolina near the Virginia border. Forecasters said Hanna could bring high winds and rain from South Carolina to Maine.
The governors of Virginia and North Carolina declared states of emergency and officials urged residents to head inland Thursday as Hanna approached.
In South Carolina, Gov. Mark Sanford urged people to leave flood-prone areas and mobile homes in two northern counties by this afternoonFRI.
In the Bahamas, Hanna snapped telephone lines in the eastern island of San Salvador as it brushed past, said Quincy Poitier, who answered the phone at the Riding Rock Inn Resort and Marina, but there were no reports of injuries.
By Thursday afternoon, Ike had maximum sustained winds near 135 mph. It was centered 505 miles north-northeast of the Leeward Islands and forecasters said it could reach the Bahamas by late Sunday or Monday.
Ike is the third major hurricane of the Atlantic season, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30.
Josephine followed behind, with maximum sustained winds near 45 mph.