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Tropical Storm Barry Downgraded - 2001-08-06


Tropical storm Barry has been downgraded to a tropical depression but continues to dump heavy rain from Florida's northwestern panhandle region through Alabama.

From Pensacola, Florida, to Birmingham, Alabama, authorities are reporting power outages, flooded roads, downed trees and damaged homes.

But Barry has lost strength since coming ashore from the Gulf of Mexico early Monday. Its top winds have dipped from 119 kilometers an hour to less than 50 kilometers an hour, according to National Hurricane Center meteorologist Krissy Williams. "Barry did continue to weaken and is now a tropical depression," she said. "But there still is a flood threat throughout Alabama, Mississippi and the Florida panhandle. Basically, this has become more of a rain event than a wind event."

Barry is moving on a north-northwesterly track at more than 20 kilometers an hour, dumping as much as 20 centimeters of rain on affected areas. Tornado and flood watches remain in effect in parts of Alabama, Georgia and Florida.

Barry made landfall less than two months after another tropical storm, Allison, carved a path of destruction along the southeastern United States from Texas to Georgia. More than 30 deaths were blamed on Allison, with damage estimated in the billions of dollars.

The six-month Atlantic hurricane season is entering its busiest phase. Storm activity often picks up in August and September before leveling off in October. Hurricane experts have predicted a busier-than-normal season this year.

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