Hurricane Sally slows, gathering a deluge for the Gulf Coast | News
WAVELAND, miss. (AP) – Hurricane Sally, a trotting storm with winds of 137 km / h, crawled toward the northern Gulf coast early Tuesday as forecasters warned of potentially fatal storm surges and flash floods as high as 2 feet. 61 meters) rain and the possibility of tornadoes.
Forecasters stressed the “significant” uncertainty about where the eye of the storm would land. But they nudged the predicted trail further east, easing fears in New Orleans, once in Sally’s crosshairs.
As of early Tuesday, hurricane warnings ranged from the Pearl River estuary on the Louisiana-Mississippi line to Navarra, Florida, and forecasters said Sally should reach land near the Alabama-Mississippi state line by late Tuesday or early Wednesday.
Stacy Stewart, a senior specialist with the National Hurricane Center, said Tuesday that people should continue to take the storm seriously as “devastating” rainfall is expected in large areas. People could drown in the flood, he said.
“This will be a historic flood, along with the historic rainfall,” said Stewart. “If people live near rivers, small streams and creeks, they have to evacuate and go somewhere else.”
Two hurricane warning flags were blowing in the wind at a marina in Gulfport, Mississippi Tuesday morning, and the sea had risen so high it covered an area normally used for campfires in the sand. Most of the boat receipts at the marina were blank, and many of the town’s shops were closed with metal shutters or plywood covering the windows.
The storm moved at just 4 km / h on Tuesday morning, centered about 169 kilometers southeast of Biloxi, Mississippi and 105 kilometers east of the mouth of the Mississippi.
Forecasters expect Sally to turn north on Tuesday afternoon, approach the coast of southeast Louisiana later that day, and then slowly travel north-northeast through Wednesday while a Category 1 hurricane with peak winds of 137 km / h comes ashore.
After landing, Sally was predicted to cause flash floods and minor to moderate river floods in inland Mississippi, Alabama, northern Georgia and the western Carolinas later in the week.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis declared an emergency in the westernmost counties of the Panhandle, which was hit by rain from Sally’s outer bands early Tuesday. The risk of heavy rain and storm surges was compounded by the slow movement of the storm.
President Donald Trump made emergency statements for parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama on Monday and tweeted that residents should listen to state and local leaders.
Alabama Governor Kay Ivey moved for the president’s explanation after the National Meteorological Service in Mobile, Alabama, warned of the increasing likelihood of “dangerous and potentially historic floods” with water up to three feet The mobile subway area rose above the ground. Ivey urged residents on Tuesday to remain vigilant and heed all emergency warnings.
It all seemed a distant threat on Monday afternoon in Waveland, Mississippi, when a shirtless, barefoot Trevor Claunch from nearby Bay St. Louis was on the beach at the last minute. But there were signs of anger. Claunch was amazed at how the golf water had already sneaked over sandy beaches and infiltrated bike paths and parking lots.
“Without rain, and it’s already at the top – I want to be honest and see where it goes,” said Claunch.
But he didn’t take any chances.
“We will go inland,” he said.
Sally reached the strength of a hurricane on Monday and quickly intensified into a category 2 storm with 161 km / h wind. The maximum sustained winds returned to a Category 1 early Tuesday and forecasters did not predict any further gain.
As the threat to Louisiana seemed to subside, flood control authorities remained vigilant, closing gates along waterway networks that the potential rise of the Gulf could push over their banks.
The southwestern part of the state was hit by Hurricane Laura on August 27, and an estimated 2,000 evacuees from that storm were accommodated in New Orleans, mostly in hotels.
According to forecasters, Monday was only the second time that five tropical cyclones swirled in the Atlantic basin at the same time. The last time was in 1971. None of the others were expected to threaten the US this week, if at all, and one was downgraded to a low pressure vat on Monday night.
The extraordinarily busy hurricane season – like the catastrophic forest fire season on the west coast – has drawn attention to the role of climate change.
Scientists say global warming makes the strongest hurricane, winds of 110 miles per hour or more, even stronger. Also, warmer air holds more moisture, which makes storms rainier, and rising seas due to global warming make storm surges higher and more damaging.
Additionally, scientists have seen tropical storms and hurricanes slow down once they hit the United States by about 17% since 1900. This gives them the ability to dump more rain over one location, like Hurricane Harvey 2017 did in Houston.
The people on the coast seemed to take the storm seriously, even if it stayed offshore. Coastal casinos have been closed on orders from the Mississippi Gaming Commission. Motorists filled a parking lot in a supermarket in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, as they filled gas tanks and stocked up on ice cream, beer and snacks.
“We take it for granted. It would have happened already, but I had to work,” said Zale Stratakos as she helped her mother, Kimberly Stratakos, fill three plastic gasoline cans.