Sally Making Landfall After Intensifying Into Category 2 Hurricane

Sally Speeds up as it Moves Onshore
  • Hurricane Sally has made landfall near Gulf Shores, Alabama.
  • Sally’s slow movement is bringing prolonged impacts to the Gulf Coast.
  • Life-threatening storm surge is expected, particularly in parts of Alabama and the western Florida Panhandle.
  • Flooding rain is a major threat from Sally on the Gulf Coast and farther inland across the Southeast through Thursday.
  • Rainfall totals of up to 30 inches could result in historic flooding near and just inland from the northern Gulf Coast.
  • Damaging winds are expected near where Sally’s center crosses the coast.

Hurricane Sally has made landfall this morning with extreme flooding rainfall, a dangerous storm surge and damaging winds. Sally will also pose a threat of flooding rainfall farther inland across parts of the Southeast.

Happening Now

Sally made landfall near Gulf Shores, Alabama, at 4:45 a.m. CDT as a Category 2 with maximum sustained winds of 105 mph.

Bands of heavy rain and strong winds are affecting the northern Gulf Coast right now, particularly in parts of the Florida Panhandle and southern Alabama.

(LATEST: Power Outages and Flooding Spread as Sally Batters Gulf Coast)

A wind gust to 86 mph was measured this morning in Pensacola, Florida. Dauphin Island, Alabama, and Mobile, Alabama have seen wind gusts as high as 99 mph and 82 mph, respectively.

More than 400,000 homes and businesses have lost power in southern Alabama and the Florida Panhandle, according to poweroutage.us.

Storm surge flooding is ongoing near and east of where Sally’s center is crossing the coast. A storm surge of over 5 feet has been recorded so far this morning near Pensacola, Florida.

Significant flash flooding with flooded roads and homes has also occurred in numerous spots from southeast Alabama into the western Florida Panhandle.

A flash flood emergency has been issued by the National Weather Service in northwestern Florida for southwestern Okaloosa County, southeastern Santa Rosa County and south-central Escambia County as well as in Alabama for southern Baldwin County. Doppler radar has estimated rainfall totals of 10 to 25 inches in this area so far.

The highest measured rainfall total so far is just over 24 inches at Pensacola Naval Air Station.

Hurricane warnings remain in effect from coastal Alabama into the western Florida Panhandle.

Current Wind Watches and Warnings

Forecast

Future Track, Intensity

Sally continues to move slowly north-northeastward into the coastline.

The storm will weaken quickly and pick up forward speed as it tracks inland across Alabama and Georgia later today through Thursday.

Current Information and Projected Path

(The red-shaded area denotes the potential path of the center of the tropical cyclone. It’s important to note that impacts (particularly heavy rain, high surf, coastal flooding, winds) with any tropical cyclone usually spread beyond its forecast path.)

Flooding Rainfall

Sally is producing a serious threat of life-threatening flooding rainfall.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) says historic flooding is possible from Sally near and just inland from the northern Gulf Coast.

Sally’s highest rainfall totals, locally up to 35 inches, are expected from extreme southeast Alabama into the western Florida Panhandle. NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center has issued a rare high risk of excessive rainfall for this area on Wednesday.

Heavy rainfall from Sally could trigger flooding farther inland across other parts of southern and central Alabama, Georgia and the Carolinas through Thursday night. NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center has issued a moderate risk of excessive rainfall from much of Alabama and the Florida Panhandle into Georgia and parts of the western Carolinas Wednesday into Thursday

Here is the latest rainfall forecast from the NHC.

-8 to 12 inches with locally up to 35 inches on the Gulf Coast from the western Florida Panhandle to extreme southern Alabama through Wednesday. Serious flash flooding and moderate to major river flooding could occur in these areas. More than a half dozen river gauges in this region are forecast to reach major flood stage, according to NOAA.

-4 to 8 inches, with locally up to 12 inches, is possible farther inland across southern and central Alabama and central Georgia. Significant flash and urban flooding is likely, as well as widespread minor to moderate flooding on some rivers in these areas.

-4 to 6 inches, with locally up to 9 inches, in western South Carolina and western and central North Carolina. Widespread flash flooding and urban flooding is possible in these areas. Minor to moderate river flooding could also occur.

-2 to 5 inches, with locally up to 7 inches, in southeast Virginia. Localized flash flooding is possible in this area.

Rainfall Forecast

(This forecast shows the additional rainfall to expect along the path of Sally as it moves farther inland.)

Flood watches have been issued by the National Weather Service in portions of the southeastern Mississippi, central and southern Alabama, the Florida Panhandle, Georgia, far southeastern Tennessee, upstate South Carolina, North Carolina and southeast Virginia.

Flood Alerts

(Flood watches mean flooding could occur in that area over the next few days, while flood warnings mean that flooding is expected or ongoing. )

Storm Surge, High Surf

A potentially life-threatening storm surge is expected along the northern Gulf Coast through Wednesday. This could be exacerbated by heavy rainfall occurring in areas experiencing storm surge.

Below is a look at the locations with the highest storm surge forecast for the Gulf Coast if peak surge occurs at the time of high tide, according to the National Hurricane Center. The next high tide in most of the area below is late Wednesday morning or early Wednesday afternoon.

-4 to 7 feet from Dauphin Island, Alabama, to the Okaloosa/Walton County line in Florida, including Pensacola Bay and Choctawhatchee Bay.

The peak storm surge will be near and to the right of where the center of Sally makes landfall. Large waves could worsen the storm surge impacts in some areas and cause significant beach erosion on much of the northern Gulf Coast.

Storm Surge Forecast

(These numbers represent how high water levels may climb near the coastline if the peak storm surge occurs at high tide. )

Damaging Winds

Strong, damaging winds will continue to impact the Gulf Coast this morning near where Sally is moving inland.

The winds could contribute to some structural damage, downed trees and power outages.

Sally’s strongest winds will weaken quickly as it tracks farther inland. Gusty winds, however, will still accompany the system at times.

Probability of Tropical Storm Force Winds

(The contours above show the chance of tropical-storm-force winds (at least 39 mph), according to the latest forecast by the National Hurricane Center.
)

Tornadoes

There will be a chance of isolated tornadoes from Sally Wednesday into Wednesday night, from southern Alabama and the Florida Panhandle into southern Georgia.

Severe Thunderstorm Forecast

(Shaded on the map above is the likelihood of severe thunderstorms, according to NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center. Note that not all categories apply for the severe weather risk on a particular day.)

Sally Recap So Far

Tropical Depression Nineteen formed Friday afternoon and made landfall in South Florida by early Saturday morning.

The tropical depression strengthened into Tropical Storm Sally once it moved over the southeast Gulf of Mexico on Saturday afternoon.

Flooding rainfall soaked parts of the Florida Keys on Saturday. Some areas in the Keys picked up nearly a foot of rainfall.

Sally brought rainfall to western parts of Florida on Sunday as it moved northward over the eastern Gulf of Mexico

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