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Gulf Coast readies for impact of Tropical Storm Debby

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 The US Gulf Coast braced Sunday for a hit from Tropical Storm Debby, as it pounded parts of the coast with strong winds and heavy rain, forecasters said.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency urged Gulf Coast residents to be prepared and monitor Debby’s progress, amid a tropical storm warning in effect for the Mississippi-Alabama border eastward to the Suwannee River in Florida, as well as for parts of the Louisiana coast.

“History has taught us that storm tracks can change quickly and unexpectedly and people are urged to stay informed and monitor storm conditions,” FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate said in a statement.

The Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) said Debby was located about 200 miles (322 kilometers) east-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River.

Its top sustained winds had increased to 60 miles (96 kilometers) per hour as the storm moved toward the northeast at five miles (eight kilometers) per hour.

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