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Tropical Storm Sally Lashing Florida, Alabama With Flooding Rain, Storm Surge and Damaging Winds After Making Landfall | The Weather Channel

The Weather Channel logoThe Weather Channel 9/16/2020 meteorologists

Tropical Storm Sally is slowly tracking inland after making landfall early this morning near the Alabama and Florida border, where it has brought catastrophic flooding rainfall, damaging storm surge and strong winds. Sally will pose a threat of flooding rainfall well inland across the Southeast into late week.

Happening Now

Sally made landfall near Gulf Shores, Alabama, at 4:45 a.m. CDT as a Category 2 with maximum sustained winds of 105 mph.

The center of Sally is now located about 30 miles north-northeast of Pensacola, Florida. Maximum sustained winds have decreased to 70 mph, meaning it has weakened to tropical storm status.

Flooding rainfall and strong winds continue to pound areas near and just inland from the northern Gulf Coast, particularly in parts of the Florida Panhandle, southern Alabama and southwest Georgia.

A tornado watch is also in effect for southeast Alabama, the Florida Panhandle and southwest Georgia until 6 p.m. CDT.

(LATEST: Sally Brings Damaging Storm Surge and Flooding Rainfall)

Storm surge flooding has inundated areas where Sally's center crossed the coast, from Alabama to the western Florida Panhandle.

A storm surge of over 5 feet has been recorded in Pensacola, Florida. Parts of the city's downtown area have been submerged by several feet of water because of the storm surge and heavy rainfall.

Serious flash flooding with flooded roads and homes has also occurred in numerous spots from southeast Alabama into the Florida Panhandle.

A flash flood emergency has been issued by the National Weather Service in the western Florida Panhandle for parts of Escambia, Oklaoosa and Santa Rosa Counties as well as in southeast Alabama for southeast Baldwin County. A separate flash flood emergency is in effect for Walton and Washington Counties in Florida.

The highest measured rainfall total so far is just over 24 inches at Pensacola Naval Air Station. Another estimated rainfall total of 30 inches was also reported near northwest Pensacola.

A wind gust to 92 mph was measured earlier this morning in Pensacola, Florida. Dauphin Island, Alabama, and Mobile, Alabama have seen wind gusts as high as 99 mph and 82 mph, respectively.

Tropical storm warnings remain in effect from coastal Alabama into the western Florida Panhandle.

More than 400,000 homes and businesses have lost power in southern Alabama and the Florida Panhandle, according to


Future Track, Intensity

Sally continues to move slowly north-northeastward into the coastline.

The storm will weaken quickly and pick up forward speed as it tracks inland across Alabama and Georgia later today through Thursday.

Flooding Rainfall

Sally is producing a serious threat of life-threatening flooding rainfall.

Sally's highest rainfall totals, locally up to 35 inches, are expected from extreme southeast Alabama into the Florida Panhandle. NOAA's Weather Prediction Center has issued a rare high risk of excessive rainfall for this area on Wednesday.

Heavy rainfall from Sally could trigger flooding farther inland across other parts of southern and central Alabama, Georgia and the Carolinas through Thursday night. NOAA's Weather Prediction Center has issued a moderate risk of excessive rainfall from much of Alabama and the Florida Panhandle into Georgia and parts of the western Carolinas Wednesday into Thursday

Here is the latest rainfall forecast from the NHC, including what has already fallen.

-Additional rainfall of 8 to 12 inches, with totals of up to 35 inches are possible on the Gulf Coast from the Florida Panhandle to Mobile Bay, Alabama, through Wednesday. Serious flash flooding and moderate to major river flooding is occurring in these areas. More than a half dozen river gauges in this region are forecast to reach major flood stage, according to NOAA.

-4 to 8 inches, with locally up to 12 inches, is possible farther inland across central Alabama and central Georgia. Significant flash and urban flooding is likely, as well as widespread minor to moderate flooding on some rivers in these areas.

-4 to 6 inches, with locally up to 9 inches, in western South Carolina and western and central North Carolina. Widespread flash flooding and urban flooding is possible in these areas. Minor to moderate river flooding could also occur.

-2 to 5 inches, with locally up to 7 inches, in southeast Virginia. Localized flash flooding is possible in this area.

Flood watches have been issued by the National Weather Service in portions of the southeastern Mississippi, central and southern Alabama, the Florida Panhandle, Georgia, far southeastern Tennessee, upstate South Carolina, North Carolina and southeast Virginia.

Storm Surge

A damaging storm surge has already moved into coastal parts of Alabama and the western Florida Panhandle.

Water levels still remain high in some of these areas, and that has been exacerbated by heavy rainfall.

The flooding from storm surge should begin to recede in most areas later today, but high water could remain in some areas because of rainfall.

Damaging Winds

Strong, damaging winds will continue to impact the Gulf Coast through tonight near where Sally is moving inland.

The winds could contribute to some structural damage, downed trees and power outages.

Sally's strongest winds will weaken quickly as it tracks farther inland. Gusty winds, however, will still accompany the system at times.


There will be a chance of isolated tornadoes from Sally Wednesday into Wednesday night, from southern Alabama and the Florida Panhandle into southern Georgia.

The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.


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