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Ida headed this way, schools closed Tuesday

Butler County is bracing for Tropical Storm Ida which is expected to make landfall on Monday night near Mobile.

And it might be here awhile.

Latest projections by the National Hurricane Center have Ida coming ashore Monday at 10 p.m. and curling across the Alabama-Florida state line near Covington County before crossing back over into the Florida Panhandle at 6 a.m. on Wednesday. Forecasters are expecting tropical storm force winds and heavy rain with the possibility of tornadoes on Tuesday. Monday afternoon, Ida’s outer bands had already brought rain to Butler County.

Butler County EMA Bob Luman said the county could receive an estimated three to eight inches of rain from Ida.

“With wind speeds, we’re probably looking at 35 to 45 miles per hour,” he said.

The National Weather Service issued a flash flood watch at 2 p.m. from Butler County to all parts south and into northwestern Florida.

Gov. Bob Riley declared a state of emergency for all residents in preparation for the storm’s approach.

“We’ve weathered storms before and Alabamians have proven we know how to respond,” said Riley. “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.”

All county public schools will be closed on Tuesday, said Butler County Interim Superintendent Joseph Dean.

“Based on the deteriorating conditions we are expecting due to the storm’s arrival we thought it better to go ahead and cancel school tomorrow,” said Dean.

Schools will re-open on Thursday, said Dean. Schools will be closed on Wednesday due to Veterans Day.

Dean said the closing shouldn’t impact the district’s schedule because the Board of Education includes a “bad weather day” in the school calendar.