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Tropical Storm Ida Downgraded; Moves Inland


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Tropical Storm Ida has been downgraded to a tropical depression as it moves through the southern United States, after churning through the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico for more than a week.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami says all storm warnings were discontinued shortly after Ida came ashore Tuesday in in the southern U.S. state of Alabama.

The forecasters say Ida has lost all its tropical characteristics and its maximum sustained winds have diminished to 55 kilometers an hour. The winds are expected to weaken as remnants of the storm move slowly to the east.

Ida is still expected to produce heavy rains, with forecasters predicting it could drop as much as 20 centimeters of rain in some areas. It is expected to be absorbed by another weather front on Wednesday.

At its earlier hurricane strength, Ida triggered floods and mudslides in El Salvador that killed at least 130 people and forced thousands from their homes.

Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes has declared a national emergency. The town of Verapaz was one of the hardest hit areas, with devastating flooding and mudslides. Ida hit Nicaragua's Caribbean coast Thursday as a low-level hurricane.

In the United States, the governors of the states of Florida, Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi had declared states of emergency, and several offshore oil wells shut down production in advance of the storm.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.