BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — The National Hurricane Center has now upgraded Sally to a Category 1 hurricane with winds of 90 mph. Also, the storm is now forecast to become a category 2 storm by the time it reaches the LA and MS Gulf coasts. This will increase the storm surge flooding and wind damage potential for the Alabama coast from tonight through Tuesday.
A Hurricane Warning is now in effect for the Alabama beaches, including Mobile Bay. This means hurricane conditions (winds of 75+ mph, heavy rainfall, storm surge flooding) are possible later tonight.
The mayor of Dauphin Island has encouraged the residents on the west side of the island to seek higher ground and evacuate as water is already starting to inundate that area.
If you have any family or friends that live on the Alabama beaches, please let them know about this important update.
Another change from the previous forecast is the track of Sally. The storm’s approach to the coast will be a little farther east than the previous track. This means the coastal parishes in SE Louisiana will miss the brunt of the storm, and more of coastal Mississippi will feel and see the greatest impacts.
Landfall is tough to call at this point, but it appears that Sally will cross the coast somewhere in Mississippi. The track also includes a quicker turn to the northeast after Sally makes landfall. This would put a smaller portion of our area in the middle of the greatest hazards, including flooding rainfall and the possibility of severe weather with quickly-forming tornadoes.
We are still going to prepare for heavy, flooding rain however. This looks to be the most serious threat for Central Alabama through Thursday. Some spots could pick up more than six inches of rain, including some of our southern counties that have low-lying areas susceptible to flooding.
These locations will have to be monitored closely as the storm will change size and shape after landfall on Tuesday.
A Flash Flood Watch is posted starting on Wednesday and will run through Thursday. There is a chance the timing of the watch will be extended so stay tuned for future updates.