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Tropical Storm Hanna Slams Ashore

SCOTT SIMON, host:

Tropical Storm Hanna is sweeping up the East Coast with 60-mile-an-hour winds and heavy rains causing flooding in some areas. We're joined now from Oak Island in southeast North Carolina by Peter Bielo who's the morning host of member station WHQR in Wilmington. Peter, thanks for being with us.

PETER BIELO: Glad to be here.

SIMON: And, you know, if you were on The Weather Channel, you'd be outside, and we'd be hearing...

(Soundbite of Scott Simon simulating the sound of wind blowing)

SIMON: And you'd be covered in rain. But you're in your car where you can really talk to us, right?

BIELO: Right, you wouldn't hear a thing but just gusts of wind because it's really still blowing out here on the coast. Further inland it's not so bad, but the trees are moving and the reeds on the dunes are moving.

SIMON: So it wasn't perhaps as bad as people feared, but 28,000 people in Brunswick County lost power, right?

BIELO: That's right. Most of them have had their power restored. I think there's about 8,000 people left where crews are still working to get the power back on. So, crews are working hard to make sure that people's lives can return back to normal.

SIMON: How many people evacuated? Can you tell?

BIELO: Well, it was a voluntary evacuation, so only a few hundred actually went to the shelters. And there are an unknown number of people who were vacationing for the week who aren't used to this kind of weather. And since it hit during the end of the week, people decided to cut their vacations a day or two short and head home.

SIMON: And Hurricane Ache - it's not ache! The ache of Hurricane Ike, let me put it that way, is reportedly not far behind.

BIELO: That's right. But when we speak to government officials, they say, you know, this one isn't going to be as bad as some of the ones they've had in the past. They're taking Hanna - they took Hanna very seriously. And they're really keeping an eye on Ike. They're still not sure where it's going to go, but if it comes here, this could almost be considered a dry run for that.

SIMON: So you can drive safely, Peter, where you are?

BIELO: Well, yeah, because I'm not risking driving through the huge puddle that's right in front of me. The main drag along Oak Island right near the water, some sections of it are flooded. There's one truck going by right now kicking up lots of water. There's a couple that just walked through, and they were ankle-deep. But they seemed to be having fun. They're just videotaping the scenery.

SIMON: Well, wear your galoshes, Peter.

BIELO: I will.

SIMON: Peter Bielo of member station WHQR from Wilmington, North Carolina, speaking with us from Oak Island in southeast North Carolina where Tropical Storm Hanna is sweeping up the East Coast. She'll be continuing to sweep up the East Coast into today. Hurricane Ike is not far behind. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Scott Simon is one of America's most admired writers and broadcasters. He is the host of Weekend Edition Saturday and is one of the hosts of NPR's morning news podcast Up First. He has reported from all fifty states, five continents, and ten wars, from El Salvador to Sarajevo to Afghanistan and Iraq. His books have chronicled character and characters, in war and peace, sports and art, tragedy and comedy.

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