November 9, 2009

Ida Now a Tropical Storm

Ida, fighting colder water and increasing wind shear, is showing signs of losing its punch as it drop from a hurricane to a tropical storm this morning. It remains a dangerous storm and will bring heavy rain, gusty winds and dangerous storm surge to the Gulf Coast from Louisiana to the Florida panhandle.With Ida weakening, all Hurricane Warnings have been discontinued. However, A Hurricane watch and a Tropical Storm Warning remain in effect from Grand Isle, La., to the Aucilla River, Florida.

As of 9 a.m. CST (10 a.m. EST), Ida is located at 26.5 N, 88.3 W or about 185 miles south-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River. This places it about 285 miles south-southwest of Pensacola, Fla.

Ida is heading to the north-northwest at 17 mph, although a turn to the north is expected by early this afternoon, followed by a turn toward the northeast later tonight and Tuesday. Current forecast call for Ida to approach the central Gulf Coast late this evening, before turning to the east and making landfall early Tuesday morning. Top sustained winds have decreased to 70 mph and additional weakening is likely in the next 24 to 36 hours.

Rain from the tropical storm is already approaching the Gulf Coast with totals through Wednesday morning reaching as high as 7 inches across the Florida Panhandle. Florida Gov. Charlie Crist has issued an Executive Order declaring a state of emergency, Shelters will open this morning in Pensacola, Fla., Molino, Fla., and Robertsdale, Ala.

Residents from Louisiana to Florida are urged to make preparations for Ida, and consider their evacuation route if necessary. If you plan to ride out the storm, be sure to have water and non-perishable food on hand and plenty of batteries in case you lose power.

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