| GEO World|
| Deadly Hanna smashes Bahamas, heads to western Atlantic|
| Updated at: 1229 PST, Friday, September 05, 2008|
MIAMI: A powerful hurricane and two tropical storms threatened Friday to deliver more destruction in the northeastern Caribbean and the United States as the death toll in Haiti from Tropical Storm Hanna rose to 136.
Hanna pushed through the Bahamas and closed in on the US Atlantic coast after plowing through Haiti, where it triggered floods and landslides that left thousands homeless, local authorities said.
Hanna could strengthen and gain hurricane status on Friday before reaching the United States near North or South Carolina, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.
Hanna "has been an erratic storm. It's already done a lot of flooding (and) we are expecting
it to strengthen slightly" before Friday, NHC forecaster John Cangialosi said.
The center of Hanna was about 80 kilometers (50 miles) east of Great Abaco island in the Bahamas and about 870 kilometers (540 miles) south of Wilmington, North Carolina.
The storm was moving toward the northwest at about 22 kilometers (14 miles) per hour and was expected to steadily pick up speed on Friday as it clears the northwestern Bahamas and heads north to the US coastline.