Ida Blows Ashore as Gulf Coast Rides Out Storm

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Wind and rain from Tropical Storm Ida hit the U.S. Gulf Coast just before dawn Tuesday.

Still, some weather-hardened residents chose to ride out the steadily weakening tropical storm.

"It's just a little bit of rain and wind," said Mississippi resident Daniel Sullivan. "I actually thought the streets would be flooded by now."

Nevertheless, tropical storm warnings are in effect in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida where the states' governors have declared states of emergency.

With its winds having dissipated to 50 miles an hour, Florida resident Frank Worley likened Ida to a mere thunderstorm.

"It was a lot of waves and wind, but it wasn't very harsh," he said. "There's a few people driving up and down the roads, but no one on the beach."

But potential flooding is the main concern. The storm is expected to drop up to eight inches of rain in some areas.

Earlier this week, rain-triggered floods and mudslides claimed the lives of at least 130 in El Salvador. Urging people to remain vigilant, Florida Gov, Charlie Crist reminded residents that last year's Tropical Storm Fay was responsible for the deaths of people Florida, Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

Ida, whose center is near Mobile, Ala. is expected to turn eastward and make its way along the Florida panhandle.

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