Alabama: Hurricane Sally moved slowly closer to the U.S. Gulf Coast, threatening catastrophic floods as rain and storm-force winds started lashing the shore, and governors urged people to flee from the coastline. Sally could hit the Alabama, Florida and Mississippi coasts causing massive flash flooding and storm surges of up to 7 feet in some spots, the National Hurricane Center said.
Sally’s winds decreased to 80 mph at 7 p.m., it was moving at a glacial pace of two mph. Sally was 75 miles south of Mobile, Alabama and spreading tropical-storm-force winds onshore. Sally will slow even more after landfall, causing Atlanta to see as much as 6 inches of rain through Friday. “It’s going to be a catastrophic flooding event” for much of the southeastern United States, with Mobile to the western part of the Florida Panhandle taking the brunt of the storm. Damage from Sally is expected to reach $2 billion to $3 billion, said Chuck Watson of Enki Research, which models and tracks tropical storms. That could rise if the storm’s heaviest rainfall happens over land instead of the Gulf. By mid-afternoon, Panama City, Florida, had received 5 to 6 inches of rain, while offshore totals were around 11 inches, Watson said.
Nearly 11,000 homes are at risk of storm surge in the larger coastal cities in Alabama and Mississippi, according to estimates from property data and analytics firm CoreLogic. Steady winds and bands of rain had started to arrive in Gulf Shores, Alabama, by Tuesday morning. Samantha Frederickson, who moved recently to Gulf Shores, hit the beach to catch a view of the storm surf. “When it gets to the point we don’t feel comfortable, we’ll take off,” she said. President Donald Trump made emergency declarations for Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana, which help coordinate disaster relief.