PORT-AU-PRINCE - Hurricane Ike strengthened rapidly into a major Category 3 hurricane in the open Atlantic yesterday and Tropical Storm Hanna intensified as it swirled over the Bahamas toward the southeast U.S. Coast.

Hanna's torrential rains had already submerged parts of Haiti, stranding residents on rooftops and prompting President René Préval to warn of an "extraordinary catastrophe" to rival a storm that killed more than 3,000 people in the country four years ago.

Authorities said Hanna caused flooding and mudslides that killed at least 61 people across Haiti, including 22 in the port of Gonaives.

Hanna was forecast to move over the central and northern Bahamas today, strengthening back into a hurricane before hitting near the North Carolina-Virginia border Saturday. Ike posed no immediate threat to land.