By Dennis Washington
ORANGE BEACH, AL (WBRC) - Hurricane Ida weakened Monday to a strong tropical storm, but was still poised to bring lots of rain and gusty winds to the Alabama gulf coast Monday and Tuesday.
The storm, which strengthened to a category two hurricane over the weekend, weakened to a tropical storm Monday morning as it moved north through the Gulf of Mexico into cooler waters with sustained winds falling to near 70 mph.
The eye of the storm was now expected to make landfall early Tuesday morning between Mobile and Pensacola as a tropical storm. All hurricane warnings and watches were discontinued.
The storm was expected to dump 2-6 inches of rain across much of southern Alabama through Tuesday night. Emergency managers in Baldwin County declared a "local emergency" Sunday night, closing schools across the county for Monday and issuing a voluntary evacuation order for Orange Beach and Gulf Shores.
The county opened a storm shelter Monday morning at the Baldwin County Coliseum in Robertsdale for evacuees.
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