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Ida to bring heavy rains, winds

Tropical Storm Ida is expected to make landfall around 6 a.m. today, bringing with it heavy rainfall and winds with gusts up to 40 mph.

Local officials met Monday to discuss the weather and the primary threats to the county.

Pike County EMA Director Larry Davis said the heaviest rainfall could be expected between midnight Monday and 8 a.m. Tuesday, with 2 to 4 inches of rain.

The county is under a wind advisory from 8 p.m. this evening to 6 p.m. Tuesday.

A wind advisory means that sustained winds are more than 20 mph and gusts are greater than 30 mph.

Residents should use caution while driving.

The county is also under a flood watch from 9 p.m. Monday to 6 p.m. Tuesday.

Davis said Ida is expected to make landfall near the mouth of the Mobile River, and residents can expect winds anywhere from 3 hours to a day and a half depending on the exact path the storm takes.

As of the 2 p.m. meeting, no school cancellations have been announced.

Local school officials are monitoring weather conditions and all say they will notify local media should the need to cancel or begin late arise.

Pike County Schools Superintendent Mark Bazzell said school officials would continue to monitor the system.

“Should the threat of severe weather Tuesday morning require modification of the school day or transportation schedule, announcements will be sent to students and parents using the WARN telephone system,” Bazzell said. “In addition, this information will be distributed by way of WTBF radio, WSFA news and the Pike County Schools Web site.”

The same goes for Troy City Schools.

“We will remain open and will monitor to see if we need to make changes,” TCS Superintendent Linda Felton-Smith said.

Felton-Smith said it was important for those driving to school this morning to use extreme caution and take the necessary precautions.

Pike Liberal Arts School Headmistress Ceil Sikes said her biggest concern was the wind and rain since she has a lot of students who have to drive from out of the county to school.

Sikes said PLAS will not meet today, but will resume at normal hours on Wednesday.

Covenant Christian School has no plans of closing as of Monday night.

Gov. Bob Riley declared a state of emergency Monday

“Based on the latest information I have seen, Alabama lies directly in the path of Tropical Storm Ida,” said Riley. “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.”