Tropical depression Ernesto hits Carolina's coast in U.S.

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Friday, September 1, 2006

Satellite photograph of Hurricane Ernesto near Haiti

Ernesto, now a tropical storm, made landfall along the coastline of the state of North Carolina near Long Beach in Brunswick County at 11:40 p.m. eastern time.

Reports say the storm was near hurricane strength when it made landfall, but officials are welcoming the rain.

"We need some rain around here - just not all at once," said Jean Evans, a worker for a convienence store in North Carolina's Holden Beach.

The threat of flooding is the main concern, said meteorologists.

"The storm system is moving quite fast, and it's bringing a lot of moisture with it. You always have flash flooding with these types of systems in the mid-Atlantic because of mountainous terrain. People really need to monitor that. You don't want to go through standing water or running water because you don't know how deep it is," said meteorologist at the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida, Jennifer Pralgo.

Hurricane watches have been activated in from South Santee River in South Carolina to Cape Lookout in North Carolina, but all watches located south of Santee River are no longer in effect.

There is no word on any serious damage as of yet.

The rain swollen Appomattox River spilled over its banks into the parking lot of the Hopewell, Virginia boat marina on Friday afternoon.

As the storm moved northward into Virginia, eastern portions of the state received up to as much as a foot rain. Flash flood watches were in effect there, and further up the U.S. coastline, including areas of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and central New York.

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