Tracking the Tropics: Sally gains some strength, still expected to be a hurricane today

Tracking the Tropics
July 04 2021 12:00 am

**No big changes from the previous forecast except for a slight increase in strength (65 mph top sustained winds) and a slower forward speed (WNW 8 mph) for Sally. The previous discussion is below. **

Get ready for a week dominated by one main feature, what’s now a tropical storm, but soon to be hurricane, Sally. Right now Sally is moving through the Gulf of Mexico, almost due south of the Alabama coast. It’s expected to move rather slowly today, but end up making landfall as a hurricane on the southeast Louisiana coast later tonight or early tomorrow morning. For us in Central Alabama, expect a warm and humid day with isolated showers and storms from the outer bands of Sally. These will primarily impact areas south of I-20. Highs will reach the upper 80s and low 90s. 

The impacts from Sally will start to be felt around here by tomorrow and going through the rest of the week. The official track takes Sally inland through SE LA on Tuesday, then up into Mississippi on Wednesday, then right in the middle of Central Alabama by Thursday. This track will put the worst of the wind, rain and severe weather potential in our region. Right now, rainfall looks to be the most immediate threat, with some areas forecast to pick up 5-6” of rain through Thursday night. There is a FLASH FLOOD WATCH in place starting Wednesday morning lasting through Thursday. There will be some isolated spots that pick up 7″+ of rain, and it will be hard to determine where exactly that occurs, so everyone should be prepared.

Then there is the gusty wind and severe weather potential that could develop Wednesday and Thursday. With any tropical system that tracks inland, the threat for tornadoes and gusty wind is present. We’ll watch this potential closely, but be prepared for at least 15-20 mph winds and the outside chance of a quickly-forming tornado during that time frame. 

By Friday, the storm will be east of us and the impacts will likely diminish. Also around this time, a front is forecast to pass the area. This will lead to lower humidity and near or just below average temperatures as we head into next weekend.

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