Gulf Coast preps as Ida weakens to tropical storm - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Gulf Coast preps as Ida weakens to tropical storm

PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) - Schools closed, residents of low-lying areas sought shelter and Florida's governor declared a state of emergency Monday as a late-season tropical storm churned toward the Gulf Coast.

After a quiet storm season, residents took the year's first serious threat in stride. "Even though we're telling everybody to be prepared, my gut tells me it probably won't be that bad," said Steve Arndt, director of Bay Point Marina Co. in Panama City, Fla.

Ida started out as the third hurricane of this year's Atlantic season, which ends Dec. 1, but it weakened to a tropical storm Monday morning, with maximum sustained winds near 70 mph.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said it was not expected to strengthen again before making landfall along the Gulf Coast sometime Tuesday morning. Tropical storm warnings extended more than 200 miles across Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.

Earlier, heavy rain in Ida's wake triggered flooding and landslides in El Salvador that killed 124 people. One mudslide covered the town of Verapaz, about 30 miles outside the capital, San Salvador, before dawn Sunday.

In the U.S., there were no immediate plans for mandatory evacuations, but authorities in some coastal areas were opening shelters and encouraging people near the water or in mobile homes to leave.

Monday morning, Ida was located about 185 miles south-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River and about 285 miles south-southwest of Pensacola. It was moving north-northwest near 17 mph.

Officials were encouraging residents to prepare for potential gusts of 60 mph by removing tree limbs that could damage their homes and securing or bringing in any trash cans, grills, potted plants or patio furniture. Residents of Pensacola Beach, Fla., and nearby Perdido Key were encouraged to leave, as were people farther inland who live in mobile homes, and school was canceled in the area Monday and Tuesday.

Some schools around New Orleans and in Alabama also canceled classes Monday. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal declared a state of emergency as a precaution Sunday, and the National Guard was on high alert there.

Nearly 1,400 Louisiana residents are still living in federally issued trailers and mobile homes after hurricanes Katrina and Rita; nearly 360 units remained in Mississippi.

"FEMA stresses that those in temporary (housing) units should not take chances," Federal Emergency Management Agency spokesman Andrew Thomas said. "Leave the unit behind and evacuate to a permanent structure that will better withstand tropical weather systems and the associated winds."

Mississippi authorities warned residents to be vigilant. They were monitoring conditions to see whether any evacuations of lower-lying areas or school closures would be necessary.

"It is likely we will at least be hit with strong winds and some flooding in our coastal counties," said Jeff Rent, a spokesman for the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency. Officials "do not want anybody to be caught off guard."

There were no mandatory evacuations in Alabama, but schools were closed in Baldwin County on the eastern side of Mobile Bay, and the county was opening a shelter.

In the Florida Panhandle, residents in Bay County and Panama City were being advised to secure boats and prepare for storm surges that could reach 2-3 feet. Heavy rain, wind and possible flooding was also expected.

"You really don't know until it gets close how you're going to be affected by it," said Brad Monroe, Bay County's deputy chief of emergency services.

Ida was not expected to pack the wallop seen in 2008 when hurricanes Gustav and Ike pelted the Gulf Coast back-to-back.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

  • News on WMCTV.comNewsMore>>

  • Holly Springs man gunned down 1 week before wedding

    Holly Springs man gunned down 1 week before wedding

    Saturday, April 29 2017 11:47 PM EDT2017-04-30 03:47:19 GMT
    Terry Halloway (Source: submission)Terry Halloway (Source: submission)

    Police in Holly Springs are investigating after a man was shot and killed early Saturday morning in the area of West College Avenue near McKinney Street.

    More >>

    Police in Holly Springs are investigating after a man was shot and killed early Saturday morning in the area of West College Avenue near McKinney Street.

    More >>
  • FIRST ALERT: Timing for weekend rain and storms

    FIRST ALERT: Timing for weekend rain and storms

    Saturday, April 29 2017 11:43 PM EDT2017-04-30 03:43:14 GMT
    There will be a couple of rounds of showers and storms this weekend.  * Storms continue overnight * Windy & mild * Flash flooding possible A FLASH FLOOD WATCH is in effect Sunday 7 a.m. through 5 p.m. Watch out for flash flooding, as 1-3 inches and locally higher amounts may be seen throughout the day Sunday, mainly from Memphis west into AR. TONIGHT: Scattered showers and overnight storms. Windy and warm. Winds: S 15-25 mph. Low: 71. THIS WEEKEND:&...More >>
    There will be a couple of rounds of showers and storms this weekend.  * Storms continue overnight * Windy & mild * Flash flooding possible A FLASH FLOOD WATCH is in effect Sunday 7 a.m. through 5 p.m. Watch out for flash flooding, as 1-3 inches and locally higher amounts may be seen throughout the day Sunday, mainly from Memphis west into AR. TONIGHT: Scattered showers and overnight storms. Windy and warm. Winds: S 15-25 mph. Low: 71. THIS WEEKEND:&...More >>
  • Mr. Belding meets fans at Redbirds game

    Mr. Belding meets fans at Redbirds game

    Saturday, April 29 2017 11:39 PM EDT2017-04-30 03:39:58 GMT

    Dennis Haskins, who played the principal America fell in love with on "Saved By The Bell," was at the Memphis Redbirds game greeting fans as part of a 90s night promotion. 

    More >>

    Dennis Haskins, who played the principal America fell in love with on "Saved By The Bell," was at the Memphis Redbirds game greeting fans as part of a 90s night promotion. 

    More >>
  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • 'The Phantom' serial killer of children out of prison, living in Tucson

    'The Phantom' serial killer of children out of prison, living in Tucson

    Thursday, April 27 2017 12:17 AM EDT2017-04-27 04:17:43 GMT
    Friday, April 28 2017 11:32 PM EDT2017-04-29 03:32:02 GMT
    Convicted killer William Huff was spotted riding his bicycle through a Tucson neighborhood. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)Convicted killer William Huff was spotted riding his bicycle through a Tucson neighborhood. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

    William Huff terrorized Sierra Vista during the spring and summer of 1967. Despite a sentence of 40 years to life, the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency voted to release him from prison into home arrest. Family members of the victims are concerned for the safety of the community, as are new members of the Clemency Board. CBS 5 Investigates videotaped Huff riding a bike through his Tucson neighborhood. There are no restrictions placed on his proximity to children.

    More >>

    William Huff terrorized Sierra Vista during the spring and summer of 1967. Despite a sentence of 40 years to life, the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency voted to release him from prison into home arrest. Family members of the victims are concerned for the safety of the community, as are new members of the Clemency Board. CBS 5 Investigates videotaped Huff riding a bike through his Tucson neighborhood. There are no restrictions placed on his proximity to children. 

    More >>
  • Severe reaction to new sandals leads woman on a painful path

    Severe reaction to new sandals leads woman on a painful path

        One woman wants to warn people about her painful path, the result of a severe and debilitating allergic reaction.  She had no idea what she was allergic to until she visited a fourth emergency room in two weeks.    

    More >>

    One woman wants to warn people about her painful path, the result of a severe and debilitating allergic reaction. She had no idea what she was allergic to until she visited a fourth emergency room in two weeks.    

    More >>
  • Teen with cerebral palsy denied prom tickets

    Teen with cerebral palsy denied prom tickets

    Friday, April 28 2017 10:36 PM EDT2017-04-29 02:36:27 GMT
    Friday, April 28 2017 11:00 PM EDT2017-04-29 03:00:47 GMT
    Ashley Hamblin already has her dress picked out, but may not be able to wear it. (WSMV)Ashley Hamblin already has her dress picked out, but may not be able to wear it. (WSMV)

    She has her dress, her date, and an extensive hair and makeup plan. It’s all in anticipation of her high school prom, but a Middle Tennessee teen was denied tickets.

    More >>

    She has her dress, her date, and an extensive hair and makeup plan. It’s all in anticipation of her high school prom, but a Middle Tennessee teen was denied tickets.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly