The Winds of God’s Wrath Hit Louisiana: Jeremiah 23

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LIVE: Sally rapidly strengthens into a Category 2 hurricane

After already bringing widespread flooding to southern Florida over the weekend, Sally now has the Northern Gulf Coast in its sights, and has become the seventh hurricane of the 2020 Atlantic season.

Updated 09/14 at 4:18 PM MDT

AccuWeather meteorologists provide update on Sally of 02:26Volume 0%

The northern Gulf Coast will be at risk for life-threatening storm surge and potent winds as slow-moving Sally moves ashore early this week.


Storm surge already inundating Gulf Coast

Brian Lada, AccuWeather staff writer

The center of Hurricane Sally is still more than 100 miles off the Gulf Coast, but storm surge is already causing flooding along the shores of Florida, Mississippi, Alabama and LouisianaDrone footage from Bay St. Louis, Mississippi shows some streets already underwater despite some blue skies. Some areas could remain underwater for an extended period of time as storm surge continues and heavy, flooding rainfall moves inland. Click here to watch a video of the flooding as seen from the air.

Sally upgraded to Category 2 hurricane

Brian Lada, AccuWeather staff writer

Hurricane Sally continues to strengthen and is now a Category 2 storm. “Data from reconnaissance aircraft indicate that the maximum sustained winds have increased to near 100 mph with higher gusts,” the National Hurricane Center stated in an update late Monday afternoon. To be a Category 2 storm, maximum sustained winds must be 96 to 110 mph. With Sally still strengthening, there is a chance that it could become a Category 3 before landfall, which is the threshold to be considered a major hurricane.2 hrs agoCopied

Hurricane Sally nearly as large as Hurricane Laura

Brian Lada, AccuWeather staff writer

All eyes are on the Gulf of Mexico as Hurricane Sally strengthens as it tracks toward the Gulf Coast, but how does it stack up against Hurricane Laura, which slammed Louisiana in late August? On satellite, the two hurricanes appear to be around the same size, both about 500 to 600 miles wide. However, Laura was significantly stronger. The devastating storm made landfall when it was at peak intensity with winds of 150 mph, just 7 mph shy of being classified as a Category 5 hurricane. Sally is currently a Category 1 storm with maximum winds of 90 mph but is projected to strengthen into a Category 2 or possibly even a Category 3 storm before making landfall early Tuesday. Even though Sally is not as strong as Laura was, people should still prepare for the hurricane as it can unload flooding rain and life-threatening storm surge.

The image below is a composite of the two hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico with Hurricane Laura on the left, as seen on Aug. 26, and Hurricane Sally on the right, as seen on Sept. 14. 

This image is a composite of two satellite images taken by NOAA’s GOES-East weather satellite; one image from Aug. 26, 2020 showing Hurricane Laura (left) and one image from Sept. 14, 2020 showing Hurricane Sally (right).3 hrs agoCopied

Alabama Governor closes beaches, recommends evacuations ahead of Hurricane Sally

Chaffin Mitchell, AccuWeather staff writer

All Alabama beaches will be closed starting at 3:00 p.m. local time on Monday, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announced after she declared a state of emergency for Sally. Gov. Ivey also recommends evacuations of flood-prone areas south of Interstate 10. The evacuation recommendation applies to people who live in low-lying and flood-prone areas and those in mobile homes and manufactured homes. “As the recently upgraded Hurricane Sally continues heading closer to the Gulf Coast, we must give individuals time to prepare for the anticipated impacts of this storm,” Ivey said. “Alabamians are no stranger to tropical weather and the significant damage these storms can do, even though our state is not currently in the direct line of impact. Locals will need to prepare their homes, businesses and personal property for imminent storm surge, heavy rain and flash flooding. I urge everyone to tune in to their trusted weather source, and pay attention to your local officials for updates regarding your area as they make further recommendations based off the unique needs of your community.”4 hrs agoCopied

Sally may approach major hurricane strength

Kevin Byrne, AccuWeather staff writer

Hurricane Sally continues to strengthen over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, and AccuWeather meteorologists now say it could flirt with major hurricane status. As of 2 p.m. EDT, the storm’s winds have increased to 90 mph, just six mph below Category 2 strength. The storm is now expected to reach Category 2 strength today and there is a chance the hurricane could hit the Gulf Coast at near major hurricane strength (Category 3 or higher) with winds of at least 111 mph. Sally is ‘meandering” over the north-central Gulf, the NHC said and is about 160 miles southeast of Biloxi, Mississippi.

5 hrs agoCopied

Sally will trigger serious inland flooding

Kevin Byrne, AccuWeather staff writer

AccuWeather meteorologists say slow-moving Hurricane Sally could trigger serious flooding damage even as it weakens over land as the week progresses. While a repeat of the historic flooding from Hurricane Harvey in August 2017 is not anticipated, Sally’s flooding could still prove disastrous, with up two 2 feet of rain forecast for some areas. Harvey dropped more than 60 inches of rain over southeastern Texas rain over several days.

“A large swath of 4- to 8-inch rainfall is forecast from the central Gulf coast to the southern Appalachians, but an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ rainfall of 24 inches is forecast in parts of southern Mississippi, southern Alabama, southeastern Louisiana and the western part of the Florida Panhandle as Sally crawls along,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Adam Douty said.

6 hrs agoCopied

Sally rapidly strengthens into a Category 1 hurricane

Kevin Byrne, AccuWeather staff writer

Sally rapidly strengthened into a Category 1 hurricane right around 12 p.m. EDT, the National Hurricane Center said. Sally has maximum sustained winds of 85 mph and is located about 175 miles southeast of Biloxi, Mississippi. Sally is now the seventh hurricane of the 2020 season joining Hanna, Isaias, Laura, Marco, Nana and Paulette.7 hrs agoCopied

Hurricane warning issued for coast of Alabama

Kevin Byrne, AccuWeather staff writer

The tropical storm warning and hurricane watch from the Mississippi/Alabama Border to the Alabama/Florida Border has been changed to a hurricane warning, the National Hurricane Center said in its 11 a.m. EDT update. Sally, still a tropical storm, is about 140 miles east-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River and 185 miles southeast of Biloxi, Mississippi.

7 hrs agoCopied

Sally has company in hyperactive Atlantic basin

Kevin Byrne, AccuWeather staff writer

Tropical Storm Vicky formed Monday morning in the far eastern Atlantic, about 350 miles west-northwest of the Cabo Verde Islands. Vicky is the second tropical storm to form on Monday after Teddy did so during the early morning hours. Unlike Teddy, which is currently forecast to become a major hurricane later this week, Vicky is expected to be short-lived and not reach hurricane strength. The image below captures the jam-packed Atlantic basin and the current location of all the named systems. In addition to the named storms, forecasters are also keeping a close eye on a disturbance in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico, which currently has a low chance of development.

With the exclusion of Rene, which is a depression, the last time there were four named storms simultaneously in the Atlantic was in 2018, according to Colorado State University Meteorologist Phil Klotzbach. From Sept. 12-14, 2018, Florence, Helene, Isaac and Joyce were all active systems, Klotzbach noted on Twitter.

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Reed Timmer outlines Sally’s life-threatening risks

Kevin Byrne, AccuWeather staff writer

Extreme meteorologist Reed Timmer was in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, Monday morning, a costal city that was devastated by Hurricane Katrina 15 years ago. Timmer reported that minor coastal flooding was already occurring in the city ahead of Sally, which was still over 100 miles away in the Gulf of Mexico. Timmer also noted that many residents have evacuated the area. A storm surge of 6-10 feet is forecast for  Bay St. Louis, which is about 60 miles northeast of New Orleans. Hear more from Timmer in the video below. 

Homes boarded up, boats moved as Sally closes in on Gulf Coast

Kevin Byrne, AccuWeather staff writer

Preparations are being rushed to completion in areas from southeastern Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle ahead of Tropical Storm Sally, which forecasters expect to strengthen into a hurricane before landfall. Homes were seen boarded up in Hancock County, Mississippi, on Sunday, and evacuations have been ordered for residents who live in low-lying areas. Hancock County is located along the Louisiana-Mississippi border. Elsewhere in Mississippi, boaters scrambled to pull their boats from the water to store them safely inland on higher ground.

A house is boarded up in Hancock County, Mississippi. (ABC News)10 hrs agoCopied

Sally getting closer to hurricane status

Kevin Byrne, AccuWeather staff writer

Sally is growing stronger as its maximum sustained winds are now up to 65 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center’s latest advisory. The storm is located about 115 miles east-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River and 165 miles southeast of Biloxi, Mississippi. Sally is moving to the west-northwest at a speed of 8 mph. Sally will become a Category 1 hurricane when its maximum sustained winds reach 74 mph.

Tropical Storm Sally grows stronger near the Gulf Coast early Monday, Sept. 14, 2020. (CIRA RAMMB)11 hrs agoCopied

Sally a 2 on the AccuWeather RealImpact Scale

Kevin Byrne, AccuWeather staff writer

Sally is expected to become a Category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, which rates hurricanes based on their sustained wind speed. However, AccuWeather meteorologists say Sally’s impacts will go beyond damaging winds and are notably concerned about life-threatening flooding that the storm could produce. Because of the wind and rain impacts combined, Sally has been rated a 2 on the AccuWeather RealImpact™ Scale for Hurricanes.

The AccuWeather RealImpact™ Scale for Hurricanes is a 6-point scale with ratings of less than one and 1 to 5 that was introduced by AccuWeather in 2019 to rate tropical systems based on multiple impacts, rather than just wind, like the Saffir-Simpson Wind Scale does.

11 hrs agoCopied

Sally’s outer bands lashing northern Gulf Coast

Kevin Byrne, AccuWeather staff writer

Sally’s outer bands are already lashing parts of the northern Gulf Coast and conditions are expected to deteriorate by late Monday as the storm produces a life-threatening storm surge, hurricane-force winds and flash flooding.

State of emergency declarations have already been issued by Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards and Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves ahead of Sally’s arrival. “This when combined with the COVID-19 pandemic, can make us all weary,” Edwards said on Twitter. “I implore Louisianans to take their preparations seriously.”

Tropical Storm Sally seen on radar in the Gulf of Mexico early Monday morning, Sept. 14, 2020.12 hrs agoCopied

Tropical Storm Sally expected to become hurricane on Monday

Mark Puleo

Hurricane experts expect Tropical Storm Sally to become a Category 1 hurricane by Monday afternoon ahead of its expected Tuesday landfall. As of 5 a.m. EDT Monday morning, the storm system was located 120 miles east-southeast of the mouth of Mississippi River and moving west-northwestward at 9 mph with maximum sustained winds of 60 mph.

As of 5 a.m. Monday morning Sally is located 120 miles east-southeast of the mouth of Mississippi River and moving west-northwestward at 9 mph with maximum sustained winds of 60 mph. (Satellite image via NOAA GOES)

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