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Danny Moving Toward Louisiana With Heavy Rain

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Tropical Storm Danny formed in the Gulf ofMexico on Thursday and moved toward Louisiana with 60 mph winds andheavy rain, prompting an alert in low-lying areas and theevacuation of offshore oil workers.

The National Hurricane Center warned that the storm couldstrengthen to a hurricane before its center passes over land,possibly as early as Friday.

Tropical storm warnings and a hurricane watch were posted acrossa 350-mile stretch of the entire Louisiana and Mississippi coasts,eastward to Orange Beach, Ala. Some areas could get 5 to 10 inchesof rain over the next few days.

Danny drifted to the northeast at about 5 mph and was about 115miles southwest of New Orleans by midday.

Boats and helicopters began ferrying nonessential workers fromoil and gas platforms in the Gulf. Texaco brought about 100maintenance workers to shore.

Terrebonne Parish officials encouraged residents in low-lyingareas to move to shelters, and Plaquemines Parish south of NewOrleans, where forecasters said Danny was most likely to comeashore, was put on alert.

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