Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi governors have declared a state of emergency with mandatory evacuations along the coasts of these three states.
As Hurricane Sally slowly approached the U.S. Gulf Coast, heavy rains and wind were experienced in parts of Alabama and Florida. Conditions got worse as more than 238,000 customers were left without power, according to Fox News, in Florida, Alabama, and Louisiana. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) said that "historic life-threatening flash flooding is likely" as the slow movement of the hurricane can allow a huge amount of rainfall to pile up.
According to CNN's meteorologist Jennifer Gray, "You could get four to five months of rain in just a matter of two to three days," as Sally's expected to be moving in the same area for days.
Many residents prepared for the coming havoc in all the ways possible. While some left town, others like Mike Taylor, a resident of Mississippi, took precautions like placing sandbags around his house situated in Long Beach, Gulfport, to keep the water out. "Just got to prepare. That's all we can do," he said.
Taylor isn't scared of Hurricane Sally as 15 years ago he experienced a worse storm, Hurricane Katrina in which he lost his home. What was left of his precious house was just a slab and a toy truck that he still holds close to his heart as a memory of that day.
Several shelters opened up in different areas to help house evacuees. CNN affiliate WPMI reported that many shelters didn't have much space because of the social distancing policy due to the coronavirus.
Louisiana worked hard to avoid using communal shelters to house #HurricaneLaura2020 evacuees because of the risks of #COVID19. But if it sees another round of disaster evacuees during this hurricane season, communal shelters might be the only option. https://t.co/qqAOqlAwL5— Louisiana Illuminator (@IlluminatorLA) September 15, 2020
According to the latest update by USA Today, the hurricane which started as a Category 1 storm with maximum sustained winds of 80 mph intensified early Wednesday morning and turned to a Category 2 storm. Even though it's traveling at just 2 mph, the maximum sustained winds rose to 100 mph as it traveled closer to landfall, 60 miles south-southeast of Mobile and 55 miles southwest of Pensacola at 1 a.m. CDT.
As the western parts of the Panhandle experienced heavy rainfall because of Sally's outer bands, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties. The police requested the people to "stay off the roadways" through a tweet along with other warnings, reported Pensacola News Journal.
Flooded roadways and intersections, along with hazardous debris in roadways (locations) have become too numerous to list. Please stay off the roadways now. If you lose electricity and have a generator, do not place it inside, near an open window or in a garage. This can be deadly— Pensacola Police (@PensacolaPolice) September 16, 2020
Governor of Alabama, Kay Ivey also declared a state of emergency as she issued an order to close the beaches and warned the residents of Gulfport to evacuate, especially those living in the south of Interstate 10 or in low-lying areas. “This is not worth risking your life,” said Ivey during a news conference on Tuesday, as reported by Montgomery Advertiser.
Philip Klotzbach pointed out on twitter that Hurricane Sally is the eighth named storm to hit the United States this year, surpassing the previous record of seven storms in 1916. A research scientist and meteorologist at Colorado State University, he also said that “It’s going to be a huge rainmaker," and “It’s not going to be pretty,” as reported by USA Today.
When #Sally makes landfall tomorrow, it will be 8th continental US (CONUS) named storm landfall of 2020. This will be the most CONUS named storm landfalls on record through September 16 - prior record was 7 named storm landfalls set in 1916. #hurricane pic.twitter.com/QcygNkJa45— Philip Klotzbach (@philklotzbach) September 16, 2020
Looking at Sally's movements, President Donald Trump issued an emergency for some parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama on Monday on Twitter saying, "Be ready and listen to State and Local Leaders!" as the hurricane is believed to pour up to a foot of rain along southeastern Mississippi, southern and central Alabama, northern Georgia and the western Carolinas.
My team and I are closely monitoring extremely dangerous Hurricane Sally. We are fully engaged with State & Local Leaders to assist the great people of Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Be ready and listen to State and Local Leaders! @GovernorKayIvey @LouisianaGov @TateReeves— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 15, 2020
Hurricane Sally originally threatened to wreck New Orleans which is a shelter to thousands of evacuees from Hurricane Laura, a Category 4 storm that hit Louisiana and Texas in August, but it later turned towards the east.
While the Mississippians prepared for Sally, they recalled Hurricane Katrina's wrath. Sue Bourgeois whose house is on the beach, 30 feet above sea level and 12 feet off the ground, recalled the time of Hurricane Katrina and said, ”We love it here. We didn't leave for Katrina. It's God's will."
Hurricane Sally is a part of the active hurricane season in the Atlantic with Monday being the second time when forecasters tracked five tropical cyclones simultaneously in the Atlantic Basin. However, other than Sally, none of the others were forecast to hit the U.S continent this week.
Disclaimer: This is a developing story, and we’ll update as we learn more. Information about the Hurricane Sally is swiftly changing, and Women Working is committed to providing the most recent and verified updates in our articles and reportage. However, considering the frequency in developments, some of the information/data in this article may have changed since the time of publication.