Tracking the Tropics: Sluggish Sally comes ashore overnight tonight; Flash Flood Watch for Central AL

Tracking the Tropics

At 4 P.M. CDT Tuesday, Hurricane Sally remains a slow, lazy storm that has barely moved much at all since this time yesterday.  Right now, Sally is creeping along to the North at a 2 mph with the storm’s center about 60 miles South of Dauphin Island, AL. Sally strength appears to have leveled off, holding as a category 1 hurricane with 80 mph winds and a minimum central pressure of 979mb.

Since yesterday, bands of tropical rainfall & tropical-storm force winds have hit the Gulf coast of both the Florida panhandle & Alabama.  So far, about 4 to 8” of rain has already fallen across a swath of the coast stretching from Dauphin Island to Panama City.  The whole of this region, well-known as the 30A & Highway 90 corridor, will continue to see tropical storm-force winds or greater & steady torrential rain for at least the next 24 hours as Sally slowly comes ashore overnight tonight.

Here is the updated forecast track from the National Hurricane Center.  Again, landfall is expected sometime overnight tonight near Mobile Bay as a category 1 hurricane.  As we move into tomorrow, Sally will begin to gradually turn Northeast and travel along the I-65 corridor towards Montgomery, then up I-85 towards Atlanta.  Fortunately for us in Central Alabama, Sally’s forecast track has steadily shifted farther & farther South, meaning we’re less likely to see the worst impacts from this storm.

Even though with some tropical storms we normally have to think about a risk for tornadoes, that does NOT appear to be the case with Sally.  Because we’re more likely to stay NORTH of the storm’s center, our risk for tornadoes tomorrow is much lower than it otherwise would be.  The highest risk for tornadoes tomorrow will be in far Southeast Alabama & the Florida panhandle.

Within our viewing area, we’re expecting places like Alexander City, Rockford, Lake Martin, Lineville, etc. to see the most rainfall & strongest winds.  As you travel farther North, forecasted rainfall totals & max wind speeds decline.  While South Alabama is more likely to see tropical storm-force winds or greater, our wind speeds are likely to max out at just 25 to 30 mph tomorrow, gusting up to 35 mph.

While a large swath of an additional 6 to 12” of rain is possible for a large chunk of South Alabama, we’re looking at just 4 to 6” of rain during the day tomorrow.  As you travel farther North, both forecast rainfall totals & max wind speeds decline.

A Flash Flood Watch remains in effect for a majority of Central Alabama until 7 PM Thursday.

That’s all for now!  We’ll be steadily providing updates on Sally’s progress as it gradually moves onshore & closer to Central Alabama tomorrow.  Be sure to download the CBS 42 Storm Team Weather App for up to the minute alerts in YOUR town, and be sure to follow us on Twitter for more weather updates from across the South.  Have a great evening!

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