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Hurricane Ida weakens to a tropical depression

Ida, the storm that went from being a depression to a tropical storm to the season's third hurricane in a matter of days, has weakened significantly.

Late Thursday, weather officials downgraded the storm to a tropical depression.

The storm — which swept through Nicaragua on Thursday and damaged homes, schools and bridges — weakened significantly while over land. Maximum sustained winds fell to about 35 mph.

Heavy rainfall is still a concern, however, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Whether it poses a threat to the United States is unclear. Computer models disagree, and it could be several days — after it emerges from the mountains of Central America — before forecasters get a better assessment.

As of 10 p.m. Thursday, the storm was moving north-northwest at about 5 mph.

Even if Ida reaches the Gulf of Mexico by next week and becomes a tropical storm again, its impact on the Tampa Bay area looks to be minimal.

"If it can hold together long enough it might spread some rain over here," said Bay News 9 meteorologist Brian McClure.

Tracking Ida

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Hurricane Ida weakens to a tropical depression 11/05/09 [Last modified: Thursday, November 12, 2009 11:48am]
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