Ida comes ashore - becomes a depression
The center of this storm has indeed taken a sharp right hook and is travelling across the Florida panhandle towards the Atlantic Ocean. The rain from Ida, however, is concentrated to the north and east of the storm center. Nothern Alabama, north Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee and North Carolina are getting drenched with heavy rain but winds are quite low and are no longer an issue.
Ida weakens to a depression, heads east to Fla. (Associated Press)
PENSACOLA, Fla. — Tropical Storm Ida sloshed ashore with rain and gusty winds Tuesday before weakening to a depression, leaving weather-hardened Gulf Coast residents largely unscathed and bringing more rain to the already-soaked Southeast.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said Ida's center first touched land on Dauphin Island, Ala., before heading across Mobile Bay toward the Alabama mainland and on to Florida.
Top sustained winds dropped to near 35 mph (55 mph) as Ida weakened and moved northeast at about 9 mph (15 kph). It was expected to turn east before being absorbed by a front Wednesday.
Tropical Storm Ida Weakens as It Moves Ashore (New York Times)
MIAMI — Tropical Storm Ida brought heavy rain and gusty winds to the Gulf Coast on Tuesday, arriving in Dauphin Island, Ala., just before dawn then weakening as it moved northeast through the Florida panhandle.
A rare late season storm at the end of a quiet year, Ida reached land about 7 a.m. with top sustained winds of about 45 miles per hour, according to the National Hurricane Center. Two hours later, forecasters said wind speeds had dropped to 35 m.p.h., and would continue to diminish over the next day or so.
Still, the storm may have caused at least one death: the authorities in Plaquemines Parish, La., said a 70-year-old man appears to have drowned when he tried to help two fishermen whose boat broke down in the Mississippi River as Ida sloshed ashore, flooding low-lying areas. The two fishermen were later picked up by the Coast Guard, The Associated Press reported, but the man who tried to help them has not been found.
In Alabama, the impact was less visible. The storm downed palm fronds and flooded a few parking lots, but the storm surge was not enough to breach berms of sand protecting beachfront hotels and condominiums.
In Florida, it was much the same. Preliminary reports to the Escambia County Emergency Operations Center near Pensacola indicated that Ida’s strength was slightly above that of a bad thunderstorm. The barrier islands that take the brunt of most storms appeared to have survived unscathed: sea oats were still standing tall Tuesday, while new roads and sand fencing — put in place after Hurricane Ivan tore through the area five years ago — showed no sign of damage.