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Hurricane Sally dumps up to three feet of torrential rain on Alabama and Florida with 'historic and catastrophic flooding' on the way after 105mph winds knocked out power for 570,000 people

 Hurricane Sally lumbered ashore near the Florida-Alabama line Wednesday with 105 mph winds and rain measured in feet, not inches, swamping homes and forcing the rescue of hundreds of people as it pushed inland for what could be a slow and disastrous drenching across the Deep South.   

The storm toppled trees, flooded streets and left 570,000 homes and businesses without electricity. 

Hurricane Sally blasted ashore near Gulf Shores, Alabama, as a Category 2 storm, shoving a surge of ocean water onto the coast and hurling torrential rain that forecasters said would cause dangerous flooding from the Florida Panhandle to Mississippi and well inland in the days ahead.

Moving at an agonizingly slow three miles per hour, the center of the hurricane made landfall at 4.45am local time with top winds of 105mph, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

The hurricane center says 'historic and catastrophic flooding is unfolding,' with up to 35 inches of rain expected.  

At 4 p.m. CDT, Sally had weakened to a tropical storm and was 55 miles north of Pensacola, Florida, spreading heavy rainfall into Alabama and Georgia. Winds had fallen to 60 mph, the NHC said. 

Sally was crawling towards the north-northeast at five miles per hour as of Wednesday evening.  

A flipped over trailer is pictured on I-10 East during Hurricane Sally in Mobile, Alabama, on Wednesday

A flipped over trailer is pictured on I-10 East during Hurricane Sally in Mobile, Alabama, on Wednesday

Flooded parking lot is seen during Hurricane Sally in downtown Pensacola, Florida, on Wednesday

Flooded parking lot is seen during Hurricane Sally in downtown Pensacola, Florida, on Wednesday

Tropic Isles condominiums are seen after Hurricane Sally moved through the area in Alabama

Tropic Isles condominiums are seen after Hurricane Sally moved through the area in Alabama

Vehicles maneuver on a flooded road near a boat washed up near the road after Hurricane Sally moved through Alabama

Vehicles maneuver on a flooded road near a boat washed up near the road after Hurricane Sally moved through Alabama

A man walks through a street by rains from Hurricane Sally in downtown Pensacola, Florida, on Wednesday

A man walks through a street by rains from Hurricane Sally in downtown Pensacola, Florida, on Wednesday

Sally's northern eyewall had raked the Gulf Coast with hurricane-force winds and rain from Pensacola Beach, Florida, westward to Dauphin Island, Alabama, for hours before its center finally hit land.

A replica of Christopher Columbus´ ship the Nina that had been docked at the Pensacola waterfront was missing, police said.

Sally tore loose a barge-mounted construction crane, which then smashed into the new Three Mile Bridge over Pensacola Bay, causing a section of the year-old span to collapse, authorities said. T

The storm also ripped away a large section of a fishing pier at Alabama´s Gulf State Park on the very day a ribbon-cutting had been scheduled following a $2.4million renovation.

More than 550,000 homes and businesses in Alabama, Florida and Mississippi have lost power, according to the tracking site poweroutage.us.

More than a quarter of U.S. Gulf of Mexico offshore oil and gas production remained shut as the storm cut fuel demand in the U.S. Southeast. 

Some 508,000 barrels per day of oil production and 805 million cubic feet per day of natural gas output were shut in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, according to the U.S. Interior Department. That is roughly a third of the shut-ins caused by Hurricane Laura, which landed further west in August.  

Some of the worst reported flooding was in the city of Pensacola, Florida, which has a population of around 52,000.

According to a preliminary report from the National Weather Service (NWS), Pensacola has already gotten more than two feet of rain. 

Hurricane Sally blasted ashore Wednesday near Gulf Shores, Alabama, as a Category 2 storm, causing floods in parts of Florida, including Pensacola

Hurricane Sally blasted ashore Wednesday near Gulf Shores, Alabama, as a Category 2 storm, causing floods in parts of Florida, including Pensacola

In downtown Pensacola, car alarms were triggered, setting off honking horns and flashing lights that illuminated floodwaters up to the bumpers of parked cars. Street lights were snuffed out in downtown Mobile, Alabama, where a stoplight snapped, swinging wildly on its cabl

In downtown Pensacola, Florida (pictured), floodwaters submerged cars parked on the street 

Flood waters move on the street, Wednesday in Pensacola, Florida, after Hurricane Sally made landfall near Gulf Shores, Alabama, as a Category 2 storm

Flood waters move on the street, Wednesday in Pensacola, Florida, after Hurricane Sally made landfall near Gulf Shores, Alabama, as a Category 2 storm

People watched from their homes as floodwaters submerged their cars in downtown Pensacola, Florida, on Wednesday

People watched from their homes as floodwaters submerged their cars in downtown Pensacola, Florida, on Wednesday  


A man is seen watching the floodwaters rise from the steps of a building in downtown Pensacola, Florida

A man is seen watching the floodwaters rise from the steps of a building in downtown Pensacola, Florida  

According to a preliminary report from the National Weather Service (NWS), Pensacola has already gotten more than two feet of rain

According to a preliminary report from the National Weather Service (NWS), Pensacola has already gotten more than two feet of rain

Rescue crews help save Ernestine Law when a tree fell on her house. Ernestine and her daughter and grandchild were in her Mobile, Alabama, home at the time. The daughter and grandchild were able to get out, but Ernestine was trapped inside

Rescue crews help save Ernestine Law when a tree fell on her house. Ernestine and her daughter and grandchild were in her Mobile, Alabama, home at the time. The daughter and grandchild were able to get out, but Ernestine was trapped inside

'Praise the Lord,' Law shouted as she was rescued by first responders on Wednesday morning after Hurricane Sally destroyed her home

'Praise the Lord,' Law shouted as she was rescued by first responders on Wednesday morning after Hurricane Sally destroyed her home 

Trent Airhart wades through flood waters after picking up items from his vehicle in downtown Pensacola, Florida, on Wednesday

Trent Airhart wades through flood waters after picking up items from his vehicle in downtown Pensacola, Florida, on Wednesday 

A still image taken from a social media video shows the damage caused by Hurricane Sally along Beach Blvd in Gulf shores, Alabama
Damage is seen on a building after Hurricane Sally passed through

Hurricane Sally caused damaged to several buildings along Beach Boulevard in Gulf Shores, Alabama, on Wednesday  


Downtown streets resembled lakes with cars submerged to the tops of their wheels and wind gusts whipping up whitecaps on the water.

David Triana, 57, a resident of Navarre, a town near Pensacola, said he and his neighbors did not board up their homes because they did not expect the trajectory of the storm to shift so much to the east or for it to be so strong.

'Nobody was prepared for a Cat 2,' said Triana, whose home fortunately escaped without any damage. 'The forecasts for the cone and the strength of the storm did not indicate that it would hit us so hard.'  

In downtown Pensacola, car alarms were triggered, setting off honking horns and flashing lights that illuminated floodwaters up to the bumpers of parked cars. Street lights were snuffed out in downtown Mobile, Alabama, where a stoplight snapped, swinging wildly on its cable.

Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan said Wednesday morning that Hurricane Sally has knocked out a section of the new Three Mile Bridge in Pensacola, Florida, as the storm pounds the Gulf Coast with wind and rain.

At a news conference, Morgan confirmed that part of the new bridge had come off amid the storm.

Morgan says thousands of people in the communities he serves around Pensacola will need to be evacuated from rising water in the coming days. 

The sheriff said there are entire communities that will have to evacuate. He says deputies have already rescued more than 40 people, including a family of four that was in a tree and was brought to safety with a high-water vehicle.

Brian Buckley walks through a flooded street after Hurricane Sally passed through the area on Wednesday in Pensacola, Florida

Brian Buckley walks through a flooded street after Hurricane Sally passed through the area on Wednesday in Pensacola, Florida

The business of Joe and Teresa Mirable is seen after Hurricane Sally moved through the area, Wednesday, in Perdido Key, Florida

The business of Joe and Teresa Mirable is seen after Hurricane Sally moved through the area, Wednesday, in Perdido Key, Florida

John Terrezza looks out at a flooded street in front of his home as Hurricane Sally passes through the area Pensacola, Florida

John Terrezza looks out at a flooded street in front of his home as Hurricane Sally passes through the area Pensacola, Florida

Hurst Butts looks out at a flooded street in front of his business as Hurricane Sally passes through Pensacola, Florida

Hurst Butts looks out at a flooded street in front of his business as Hurricane Sally passes through Pensacola, Florida

A passenger in a car takes pictures with his phone as the vehicle drives through a flooded section of US Highway 98 in Fort Walton Beach, Florida

A passenger in a car takes pictures with his phone as the vehicle drives through a flooded section of US Highway 98 in Fort Walton Beach, Florida

Joel Sterling of Silverhill, Alabama, cuts branches from a tree that fell in his yard as Hurricane Sally passed through

Joel Sterling of Silverhill, Alabama, cuts branches from a tree that fell in his yard as Hurricane Sally passed through

Joe Mirable surveys the damage to his business after Hurricane Sally moved through the area, in Perdido Key, Florida

Joe Mirable surveys the damage to his business after Hurricane Sally moved through the area, in Perdido Key, Florida 


In Baldwin County, Alabama, the hurricane has knocked out the power of nearly 100 per cent of customers. 

In a tweet, the county's emergency management agency said: 'As the sun comes up this morning, Hurricane Sally is throwing down a big challenge. At this point, around 95% of the meters on our system have no power.'

Dauphin Island Mayor Jeff Collier said Wednesday morning that the area has suffered 'a lot of damage here'.

Collier said crews have done some initial surveys in the Alabama town and 'what we're seeing is quite a bit of devastation'. 

'We've got trees down all over the place, power lines,' Collier told CNN. 'We've got a lot of work to get done.'

The mayor said there were about 300 people who didn't evacuate, but so far there has only been one water rescue. 

This RAMMB/NOAA satellite image shows Hurricane Sally on Wednesday as it barreled into the US with forecasts of drenching rains that could provoke 'historic' and potentially deadly flash floods

This RAMMB/NOAA satellite image shows Hurricane Sally on Wednesday as it barreled into the US with forecasts of drenching rains that could provoke 'historic' and potentially deadly flash floods

People use flashlights as they walk on flooded streets in search of their vehicle on Wednesday in Pensacola, Florida

People use flashlights as they walk on flooded streets in search of their vehicle on Wednesday in Pensacola, Florida

A police officer escorts a resident as they inspect damages from the fallen tree during Hurricane Sally in Pascagoula, Mississippi on Wednesday

A police officer escorts a resident as they inspect damages from the fallen tree during Hurricane Sally in Pascagoula, Mississippi on Wednesday 

A tree lies on the street after it fell during Hurricane Sally in Pascagoula, Mississippi on Wednesday morning

A tree lies on the street after it fell during Hurricane Sally in Pascagoula, Mississippi on Wednesday morning 

Residents look at the destruction caused by Hurricane Sally in Pascagoula, Mississippi on  Wednesday

Residents look at the destruction caused by Hurricane Sally in Pascagoula, Mississippi on  Wednesday 


In Orange Beach, city officials say they received 120 calls after midnight from people whose homes were flooded by Hurricane Sally.

Mayor Tony Kennon says between 50 and 60 people were rescued and are staying in makeshift shelters as of Wednesday morning. 

Kennon also said there are people they haven't been able to get to because of high water. But he said they're safe in their homes and will be rescued as soon as the water recedes.

Meanwhile, US Coast Guard crews based in New Orleans are prepared to make rescues if needed, as soon as the storm passes.


A curfew had been called in Gulf Shores due to life-threatening conditions hours before landfall. 

In the Panhandle's Escambia County, Chief Sheriff's Deputy Chip Simmons vowed to keep deputies out helping residents as long as physically possible. The county includes Pensacola, one of the largest cities on the Gulf Coast.

'The sheriff's office will be there until we can no longer safely be out there, and then and only then will we pull our deputies in,' Simmons said at a storm briefing late Tuesday.

This for a storm that, during the weekend, appeared to be headed for New Orleans. 'Obviously this shows what we've known for a long time with storms - they are unpredictable,' Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson IV said.


In Orange Beach (destruction pictured), city officials say they received 120 calls after midnight from people whose homes were flooded by Hurricane Sally

In Orange Beach (destruction pictured), city officials say they received 120 calls after midnight from people whose homes were flooded by Hurricane Sally

Orange Beach Mayor Tony Kennon says between 50 and 60 people were rescued and are staying in makeshift shelters as of Wednesday morning. Debris is seen littering an area in Orange Beach early Wednesday morning

Orange Beach Mayor Tony Kennon says between 50 and 60 people were rescued and are staying in makeshift shelters as of Wednesday morning. Debris is seen littering an area in Orange Beach early Wednesday morning 

The storm's top sustained winds had dropped to 81mph just over an hour after it struck land, making it a Category 1 hurricane. 

A section of Florida's Highway 98, which runs parallel to the Gulf of Mexico, has been blocked by debris and downed power lines as the hurricane continued to move inland.

In a tweet, the Walton County Sheriff´s Office says residents should stay home because roads in the area 'are dangerous right now.' The agency says numerous roads in the area are closed due to the storm.

Forecasters warned that heavy rainfall would continue into Thursday as the storm moved inland over Alabama and into central Georgia, likely causing serious flash flooding and minor to moderate river flooding far from the coast.

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey warned residents that it may take time to restore power and water services and clear debris-littered roadways.

'Hurricane Sally has been a slow-moving storm, which only adds to some natural delays in restoring power, water and other essential services,' Ivey said.

Ivey declared a state of emergency in Alabama on Monday ahead of Sally's arrival.

Tate Reeves, the governor of neighboring Mississippi, had also declared an emergency ahead of the storm but it eventually made landfall further to the east.

Sally was a rare storm that could make history, said Ed Rappaport, deputy director of the hurricane center.


A police vehicle drives through a street strewn with tree branches as the winds and rain from Hurricane Sally pass through Mobile, Alabama, on Wednesday

A police vehicle drives through a street strewn with tree branches as the winds and rain from Hurricane Sally pass through Mobile, Alabama, on Wednesday 

A car drives down Government Street during Hurricane Sally in Mobile, Alabama, on Wednesday

A car drives down Government Street during Hurricane Sally in Mobile, Alabama, on Wednesday

With flood water running through the streets people move outside a hotel for a view on Wednesday in Pensacola, Florida

With flood water running through the streets people move outside a hotel for a view on Wednesday in Pensacola, Florida

A fallen tree is seen in Mobile, Alabama, after it fell when Hurricane Sally made landfall as a Category 2

A fallen tree is seen in Mobile, Alabama, after it fell when Hurricane Sally made landfall as a Category 2


'Sally has a characteristic that isn't often seen and that's a slow forward speed and that´s going to exacerbate the flooding,' Rappaport said.

He likened the storm's slow progression to that of Hurricane Harvey, which swamped Houston in 2017. 

Up to 30 inches of rain could fall in some spots, and 'that would be record-setting in some locations,' Rappaport said in an interview Tuesday night.

Sally's impact was felt all along the northern Gulf Coast. Low lying properties in southeast Louisiana were swamped by the surge. 

Water covered Mississippi beaches and parts of the highway that runs parallel to them. Two large casino boats broke loose from a dock where they were undergoing construction work in Alabama.

In Orange Beach, Alabama, Chris Parks, a tourist from Nashua, New Hampshire, spent the night monitoring the storm and taking care of his infant child as strong winds battered his family's hotel room.

Hurricane Sally has a trajectory that is expected to reach the Carolinas by Friday (depicted above)

Hurricane Sally has a trajectory that is expected to reach the Carolinas by Friday (depicted above)

Hurricane Sally has prompted tropical storm warnings along the Florida Panhandle and parts of Alabama

Hurricane Sally has prompted tropical storm warnings along the Florida Panhandle and parts of Alabama

The slow-moving storm could bring 'historic flooding' to inland areas, including Birmingham, Montgomery, and Hattiesburg, Mississippi

The slow-moving storm could bring 'historic flooding' to inland areas, including Birmingham, Montgomery, and Hattiesburg, Mississippi

Between 3 and 5 feet of storm surge is expected in Pensacola, Florida (depicted above)

Between 3 and 5 feet of storm surge is expected in Pensacola, Florida (depicted above)

Strong, tropical storm-force winds are predicted through Thursday, forecasters said

Strong, tropical storm-force winds are predicted through Thursday, forecasters said 

Up to 35 inches of rain is possible along the Gulf Coast while areas as far north as Charlotte and Atlanta are likely to see several inches as well

Up to 35 inches of rain is possible along the Gulf Coast while areas as far north as Charlotte and Atlanta are likely to see several inches as well


Their return flight home was canceled, so they were stuck in Alabama until Friday.

'I'm just glad we are together,' Parks said. 'The wind is crazy. You can hear solid heavy objects blowing through the air and hitting the building.'

Mississippi Gov Tate Reeves urged people in the southern part of his state to prepare for flash flooding.

As Sally's outer bands reached the Gulf Coast, the manager of an alligator ranch in Moss Point, Mississippi, was hoping he wouldn't see a repeat of what happened at the gator farm in 2005, when about 250 alligators escaped their enclosures during Hurricane Katrina's storm surge.

Gulf Coast Gator Ranch & Tours Manager Tim Parker says Sally has been a stressful storm because forecasters were predicting a storm surge of as much as 9 feet in his area. He felt some relief after surge predictions shifted.

Sally was forecast to bring heavy downpours to parts of Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and the Carolinas later in the week. 

Some inland residents weren't waiting, driving to the coast to experience Sally's power before it hit land.

With heavy rains pelting Navarre Beach, Florida, and the wind-whipped surf pounding, a steady stream of people walked down the wooden boardwalk at a park for a look at the scene Tuesday afternoon.

Rebecca Studstill, who lives inland, was wary of staying too long, noting that police close bridges once the wind and water get too high. With Hurricane Sally expected to dump rain for days, the problem could be worse than normal, she said.

'Just hunkering down would probably be the best thing for folks out here,' she said.


A pavilion was flooded in New Orleans, Louisiana, on Tuesday just hours before the hurricane made landfall

A pavilion was flooded in New Orleans, Louisiana, on Tuesday just hours before the hurricane made landfall 

People play in a flooded parking lot at Navarre Beach, Tuesday in Pensacola Beach, Florida

People play in a flooded parking lot at Navarre Beach, Tuesday in Pensacola Beach, Florida 

President Donald Trump issued emergency declarations for parts of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said the White House is 'fully engaged' with the status of Hurricane Sally.

Speaking Wednesday morning on Fox News Channel's Fox & Friends, McEnany said the Federal Emergency Management Agency is also fully engaged and cited Trump's issuance of emergency declarations for the affected states.

McEnany didn't have details on which officials the president had spoken with as of Wednesday morning but said 'it's safe to say the White House has been in active contact with all of these governors'.

Sally hit just shy of three weeks after Hurricane Laura pummeled southwestern Louisiana on August 27. Lingering damage from that storm accounted for many of the 60,000 power outages in that state.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Teddy has now become a hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 100mph, the NHC said early Wednesday.

Teddy is located about 820 miles east of the Lesser Antilles. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 25 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles.

Some strengthening is forecast during the next few days, and Teddy is likely to become a major hurricane later Wednesday and could reach Category 4 strength on Thursday. 

There have been so many tropical storms in the Atlantic this year that the UN's World Meteorological Organization, which names the tempests, is about to run out of names for only the second time in history.

The last time was in 2005, the year Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans.

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