Hurricane Sally made her slow and debilitating presence along the Alabama and Florida coastlines late Tuesday night, but strengthened into a Category 2 storm early Wednesday morning. The slow-moving storm looks to be a life-threatening danger in terms of floods and wind surge along the coast.
Hurricane Sally has been a peculiar storm, going from a nonchalant tropical storm over south Florida to a Category 2 storm approaching the Gulf coast cities. Sally dissipated to a Cat 1 storm and, and almost back to a tropical storm, and then she roared back to a heavy hurricane, strengthening again late Tuesday to a Category 2 storm.
Sally whipped into the northern Gulf of Mexico early Wednesday morning with hurricane force winds of 90 mph, which still classified it as a category 1 storm. The eye wall was projected to make landfall anywhere just west of Mobile Bay all the way west to Pensacola.
The storm has slowly moved over the last three days, meandering in the north central Gulf of Mexico and dumping massive amounts of rain in its path. The Weather Channel said Hurricane Sally could bring a “life-threatening” storm surge to those coastal states.
The storm has already produced heavy rains in Florida, with up to 12 inches in some places. On Sunday afternoon, then-Tropical Storm Sally spawned rotations that led to tornado warnings along the Southwest Florida coast, with Sanibel Island and Pine Island in particular.
The storm is expected to dump torrential rainfalls all over the Gulf coast from Mississippi to Florida, and northeast to the Carolinas. Sally’s meandering ways have meteorologists thinking the storm could move slowly over land, perhaps dropping rain similar to Hurricane Harvey in 2017, which dumped nearly 60 inches of rain in some places in Houston.
Sally worked its way across South Florida and the Florida Keys on Saturday and Sunday, and then moved into the Gulf of Mexico, where it went from a tropical storm Monday morning into a Category 1 storm
The storm produced heavy rains in Florida, with up to 12 inches in some places. On Sunday afternoon, then-Tropical Storm Sally spawned rotations that led to tornado warnings along the Southwest Florida coast, with Sanibel Island and Pine Island in particular.
By Tuesday night, storm surges had already rolled into the coastal states and threw rain in all kinds of directions into Florida, Alabama and Mississippi.
Sally first appeared to be heading toward south Louisiana, but it made an eastward turn Monday afternoon.
The 2020 hurricane season has been the busiest in recorded history. And right now, there are five named storms — the first time this has happened in 50 years.
The storms are:
Remnants of Rene
Tropical Storm Teddy
Tropical Storm Vicky
There are two more systems—one in the Gulf of Mexico and the other off the west coast of Africa—that have potential to become named storms. There is only one other prepared named storm in the 2020 Atlantic season. Should “Wilfred” be the next storm, then the names of the following storms would take on the Greek alphabet, starting with: Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta.