Tracking Tropical Storm Sally

Weather Headlines

7 PM CDT Wednesday Update:

Tropical Storm Sally continues to make its way inland. As of 7 p.m. CDT, Sally was located across south central Alabama, with majority of the rain falling to the north and east of the system. Sally has weakened moving over land. Winds are now at 45 mph.

Coastal locations have received the most rainfall from Sally, as forecasted. The western panhandle of Florida and far southern Alabama has recorded at least 15 inches of rain. Radar estimates more than 25 inches in some locations, especially around Pensacola, FL. It’s possible that totals may be above 30 inches.

Sally will weaken further overnight to tropical depression status, but still provide heavy rainfall to Alabama, Georgia and the Carolinas as it moves northeast Thursday through Friday.

Much of central Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and southeast Virginia could see rainfall totals ranging from 2 inches at the least to more than seven inches. Flooding in the southeast still remains a high threat as Sally shifts northeast.

1 PM CDT Wednesday Update:

9 AM, Wednesday Update

Hurricane Sally is weakening. As of 9 AM, Sally was a Category 1 Hurricane with maximum sustained wind speeds of 85 mph after making landfall earlier in the morning as a Category 2 Hurricane. Maximum sustained wind speeds were estimated to be 105 when Sally made landfall.

While it is slow, Sally has begun to increase in forward speed. It has gone from 2 mph at landfall to 4 mph at 9 AM. This is typical when landfall occurs. Forward speed will continue to increase, and Sally will be moving to the northeast. Sally will likely be a tropical storm Wednesday afternoon and then a tropical depression Thursday.

Life-threatening flooding rains will continue Wednesday in the Florida Panhandle and in South Alabama. One to two feet of rain will be common. Some places will get more than two feet. Radar estimates that places just east of Pensacola have already received nearly two feet as of 9:30, Wednesday morning. Up to six more inches of rain may fall in the Florida Panhandle and South Alabama.

6 AM, Wednesday Update

Hurricane Sally made landfall at Gulf Shores, Alabama at 4:45 a.m., Wednesday morning. The National Hurricane Center estimates maximum wind speeds were at 105 mph at landfall. The storm should weaken Wednesday and Thursday. It will likely become a tropical storm Wednesday night and a tropical depression Thursday.

7 PM TUESDAY UPDATE – Sally continues crawling towards the Gulf Coast this evening as a Category 1 hurricane. The system last some strength since Monday night, but its impacts to the deep south will still be significant, historic and life-threatening.

At 7 p.m. CDT, Sally had maximum sustained winds of 80 mph and was moving north at 2 mph.

The National Weather Service is calling for historic rainfall and flooding along the Gulf Coast.

Since Sunday night, more than 10 inches of rain has fallen just west of Panama City, FL (according to radar estimated rainfall totals). More than 20 inches of rain has fallen out at sea.

Sally is forecast to make landfall late Wednesday morning into Wednesday afternoon just east of Mobile, AL. The system will then continue moving slowly northeast, producing heavy rainfall not only along the coast but stretching up through the Carolinas by the weekend.

An additional 7-14 inches of rain will be possible in locations that have already picked up over seven inches of rain from this tropical system. Rainfall totals ranging from 3-10 inches could be seen from southeast Mississippi through central Alabama, north Georgia and parts of North and South Carolina.

To view the latest local forecast, click HERE.

10 AM Tuesday Update– Sally is continuing its slow trek toward the Gulf Coast and will likely bring ‘extreme life-threatening flash flooding’ in the coming days, the National Hurricane Center says.

Watch the livestream above starting at 10:15 a.m. for the latest.

5 AM, Tuesday Update – Overnight Monday into Tuesday, Hurricane Sally weakened from a Category 2 Hurricane with maximum sustained wind speeds of 100 mph to a Category 1 Hurricane with maximum sustained wind speeds of 85 mph. Movement has slowed to 2 mph.

The slow movement of the storm will likely hold off landfall near the Mississippi/Alabama border until around 7 AM, Wednesday. The slow movement of the storm will help produce huge rainfall amounts with many locations there receiving a foot of rain. Some places may get up to two feet of rain. Flash flooding and inland flooding from storm surge will be the biggest issue Sally causes in Mississippi and Alabama.

Sally will quickly drop in intensity Wednesday and Thursday as it, hopefully, picks up forward momentum and moves through Alabama and into Georgia. By Thursday it should be a tropical depression.

7 PM, MONDAY Update – Sally strengthened from a tropical storm early Monday morning to a category one and category two hurricane by the afternoon. As of 7 p.m Monday, Sally has maximum sustained winds of 100 mph and is moving very slowly, just west/northwest at 5 mph.

Sally is still forecast to make landfall as a hurricane, though the timing has been pushed back due to the tropical system’s slow motion. Landfall will likely occur Tuesday night into Wednesday morning between Biloxi, MS and Mobile, AL.

Sally will weaken as it moves inland, though the impacts from the storm will still be felt in the form of strong wind gusts, tornado threat and flooding rains.

Almost two days after landfall, Sally is forecast to be near Montgomery, AL. It won’t pick up speed and motion until late in the work week when another front picks up the deteriorating system.

Rainfall totals along the coast and landfall location will range from 5-10 inches. 4-8 inches of rain could fall from southeastern Mississippi to central Alabama and north Georgia.

Minimal impacts will be felt in Arkansas. Exterior rainbands from Sally will spin in to Arkansas more so Wednesday and Thursday than Tuesday. Isolated showers will be in the forecast Tuesday, though, as tropical moisture interacts with daytime heating, leading to the development of rain and/or storms.

For a look at the latest local forecast, click HERE.

Noon, Monday Update

Tropical Storm Sally rapidly strengthened into a strong Category 1 Hurricane before Noon, Monday, as Hurricane Hunters flying through the storm determined it has strengthened into a Hurricane. Maximum sustained wind speeds were at 90 mph Noon, Monday. Further strengthening is anticipated.

Hurricane Sally is forecasted to reach Category 2 Hurricane status by 7 PM, Monday. A Category 2 Hurricane has maximum wind speeds of 96 to 110 mph. Storm surge is expected to reach 7-10 feet along the Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama coasts. Lake Pontchartrain could see storm surge up to 6 feet.

The storm will move northeast through the Southeastern United States after it makes landfall and will quickly weaken, but also be a very big rain maker, especially in South Mississippi and South Alabama where rain totals could approach 24″.

Impact in Arkansas will be minimal.

6 AM, Monday Update

As of 6 AM, Monday, Tropical Storm Sally was located about 130 miles southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River in SE Louisiana. The storm had maximum sustained winds of 60 mph. Sally will likely become a Hurricane with maximum sustained wind speeds of at least 74 mph over the next 24 hours.

Landfall is possible Monday night near the mouth of the Mississippi River.

Storm Surge may reach 7-11 feet from the Mouth of the Mississippi to Ocean Springs, Mississippi. Lake Pontchartrain may see storm surge of 4-6 feet.

Hurricane Warnings, Tropical Storm Warnings, Hurricane Watches, & Tropical Storm Watches have been issued for coastal Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida.

Minimal impact is expected here in Arkansas from Sally.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – 7 PM CDT Sunday – Tropical Storm Sally formed in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, just off the western coast of Florida Saturday afternoon with winds initially up to 40 mph. By Sunday evening, it had strengthened over the central Gulf with maximum sustained winds of 60 mph.

Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center are now predicting further intensification due to low wind shear and warm Gulf waters. Sally will likely become a hurricane before making landfall along far south/southeast Louisiana Tuesday.

Hurricane warnings have been issued along much of Louisiana and southern Mississippi’s coastlines. Tropical storm warnings extend further east along Alabama’s coastline and the western part of the Florida panhandle. Mandatory evacuations have already been issued in some parts of Louisiana ahead of the storm.

While tropical storm to hurricane force winds will be possible along the central Gulf Coast, storm surge and isolated tornadoes will also be a concern. One of the biggest threats in the area, however, is immense rainfall leading to a high flooding threat. Through Friday night, parts of the Gulf Coast could pick up anywhere from 5-10 inches of rain, with higher rainfall totals possible as Sally stalls out over the area.

Sally will be slow to move after making landfall Tuesday. A cold front pushing from Arkansas southward Sunday and Monday will eventually clash with this tropical system. As the front stalls, it will limit Sally’s motion, resulting in a prolonged period of rainfall.

Unlike the last hurricane to make landfall along the Louisiana coastline this season (Laura), Sally will not have any major impacts on Arkansas. Outward spiraling moisture from the system will make its way into the Natural State Tuesday through Thursday. Isolated to scattered showers and/or storms may develop locally.

Rainfall totals in Arkansas through Friday will not be too impressive (based on current forecast of Sally and its forecasted path). Most locations will pick up less than an inch of rain. Higher rainfall totals will be seen in far east Arkansas, but still, less than two inches are in the forecast.

For a more detailed look at central Arkansas’s local forecast, click HERE.

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