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Ida ought to bring rains

Tropical Storm Ida could bring heavy rain and wind to Central Alabama as the storm makes landfall and moves inland Tuesday.

The region has been placed under a flood watch as of 9 p.m. Monday, and a lake wind advisory until 6 p.m. Tuesday. Meanwhile, Gov. Bob Riley has declared a state of emergency.

“Our message always is to be prepared,” said Lauree Ashcom, deputy public information officer for the Alabama Emergency Management Agency. “People even in inland counties need to be aware of the wind and rain forecast. It’s not just a coastal concern.”

The state EMA is in contact with county EMA offices in the region to prepare for emergencies connected with the storm.

The main concern is potential flash floods resulting from heavy rain. The National Weather Service is predicting 3-6 inches of rainfall for Central Alabama directly resulting from Ida.

The area with the heaviest rainfall will likely be the Clanton to Montgomery corridor, NWS Meteorologist Mark Rose predicted.

“The heavy rainfall is our main concern at this time,” Rose said, adding that winds are forecast to reach between 15 and 25 mph.

Ida was forecasted to make landfall around sunrise Tuesday near Mobile Bay. The storm is expected to shift northeast near Dothan. The storm’s wind speed as of 11 a.m. Monday was 70 mph and weakening.

At its strongest, Ida was a Category 2 hurricane with winds of 100 mph.

“Based on the latest information I have seen, Alabama lies directly in the path of Tropical Storm Ida,” Riley said Monday. “We’ve weathered storms before, and Alabamians have proven we know how to respond. Though it may not have the force of some of the storms we have dealt with in the past, we cannot afford to take Tropical Storm Ida lightly. The storm surge on the coast and flooding inland pose major threats which we all must take very seriously.”