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Ida Weakens To A Tropical Depression, Heads East

Miami, FL – Forecasters say Ida has weakened to a tropical depression and is heading east toward the Florida Panhandle with winds near 35 mph (55 kph).

Ida was a tropical storm with winds near 45 mph (75 kph) when it came ashore near Mobile Bay in southern Alabama on Tuesday morning.

The tropical depression is moving northeast about 9 mph (15 kph) and is expected to continue in that direction until being absorbed by a front on Wednesday.

Forecasters say most of the heavy rain is over and tropical storm warnings have been discontinued.

The storm had shut down nearly a third of oil and natural gas production in Gulf as oil companies evacuated workers ahead of Ida. But demand for energy is so low due to the economic downturn, energy prices have barely budged.

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

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