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Tropical storm pumps rain into SE

Gusty winds and heavy rain pelts states from Alabama to Virginia as former tropical storm moves inland.

BY JIM SKILLINGTON | BALTIMORE | November 9, 2009

Tropical Storm Ida crossed the Alabama coast Tuesday morning, bringing with it flooding rains and powerful waves.

Powerful waves were already pounding the Florida Panhandle Monday night, causing flooding in low-lying areas. In Mississippi, the American Red Cross opened shelters ahead of the storm. Residents in Alabama and Georgia have been warned that some areas may see as much as 8-inches of rain.

Disaster response groups in Mississippi, Louisiana and Florida said Monday they are ready for any eventuality.

The Salvation Army is prepared their “mobile canteens” and locating them strategically throughout Mississippi and other regions susceptible to flooding. The canteen is a vehicle that has a self-contained kitchen. The canteens go out and provide meals to people unable to get help in the midst of a disaster.

“When you can put a cup of hot coffee or a hot meal in someone’s hands it gives them a chance to slow down and know they are not alone,” says Jeff Jellets, Salvation Army, Territory Disaster Coordinator.

The canteens are described as a complete “kitchen on wheels” and can provide up to 1,500 meals a day to disaster survivors. The units are ready to be activated throughout the panhandle area as needed.

The National Weather Service is reporting that the storm weakened from a hurricane to a tropical storm Monday morning. It is headed toward the Gulf coast area of Mississippi, Florida and southeast Alabama.

Although the storm has weakened, strong winds and heavy rainfall are expected hit the area early Tuesday. Flooding and wind damage remain a significant threat.

The governors Louisiana, Alabama and Florida have declared a state of emergency in their states.

The tropical storm killed more than 120 people in El Salvador last week as a result of flooding rains and mudslides.

And while most of the attention remained focused on Ida, forecasters are also watching a disturbance in the Atlantic that could strengthen into yet another late-in-the-season tropical storm.

Monica Olivas contributed to this story.


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