As of 11:30 am, we have some of the outer cloud bands of now Hurricane Sally moving across Central Alabama, but at this point, skies are mostly clear to partly cloudy. Radar is nearly completely clear of any activity across the area at the moment, but there may be a shower falling over the north-central and northeastern parts of Cleburne County. Temperatures as of the 11:00 am official roundup were in the 80s across Central Alabama. Tuscaloosa was the warm spot at 87 degrees while Haleyville was the cool spot at 81 degrees. Birmingham was sitting at 84 degrees.
Weather for the rest of the daylight hours will be partly cloudy with a chance of scattered mainly afternoon and early evening showers and thunderstorms, while chances will be much higher to likely for locations south of a line from Demopolis to Selma to Montgomery to Phenix City. Afternoon highs will top out in the mid-80s to the lower 90s across the area. Coverage of showers will diminish during the night and overnight hours, but we’ll keep a small chance of a few isolated showers over the northern half fo the area with a little higher chance for the southern half. Lows will be in the upper 60s to the mid-70s.
We’ll have showers and thunderstorms becoming likely as those outer rainbands of Hurricane Sally will begin to move across the area. The heaviest activity can be expected along and south of a line from Demopolis to Selma to Eufaula. It will be breezy as well as winds will start to increase throughout the day. Highs will be in the lower to mid-80s.
FLASH FLOOD WATCH
A Flash Flood Watch has been issued starting at 1:00 am Wednesday morning for Autauga, Barbour, Bibb, Bullock, Calhoun, Chambers, Chilton, Clay, Cleburne, Coosa, Dallas, Elmore, Greene, Hale, Jefferson, Lee, Lowndes, Macon, Marengo, Montgomery, Perry, Pike, Randolph, Russell, Shelby, St. Clair, Sumter, Talladega, Tallapoosa, and Tuscaloosa counties in Central Alabama. The watch is set to expire at 7:00 am Thursday morning.
Rainfall amounts through 7:00 am Friday morning could total in the range from 1.5-2 inches in the northwestern corner of Central Alabama to as high as 8-10 inches in the south-central and southwestern parts of the area. Some localized amounts of 10-15 inches my be possible in the extreme southwestern parts of Central Alabama.
SALLY IS NOW A HURRICANE
Sally has now strengthened into a strong category 1 hurricane as of the 11:00 am special update from the NHC with maximum sustained winds at 90 MPH. The center is currently located around 165 miles to the southeast of Biloxi, Mississippi, and is currently moving to the west-northwest at 7 MPH. On the forecast track, the center of Sally will move over the north-central Gulf of Mexico today, approach southeastern Louisiana tonight, and make landfall in the hurricane warning area on Tuesday or Tuesday night. Afterward, Sally is expected to move slowly north-northeastward near the northern Gulf Coast through Wednesday.
Strom Surge and Hurricane Warnings are up for Mobile Bay and the Alabama Gulf Coast. Tropical storm warnings are up for the Florida panhandle from the FloraBama to Port St. Joe.
It is too early to determine where Sally’s center will move onshore given the uncertainty in the timing and location of Sally’s northward turn near the central Gulf Coast. Users should not focus on the details of the official forecast track, since NHC’s average forecast error at 48 hours is around 80 miles, and dangerous storm surge, rainfall, and wind hazards will extend well away from the center.
An extremely dangerous and life-threatening storm surge is expected for areas outside the southeastern Louisiana Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System from Port Fourchon, Louisiana, to the Alabama/Florida border, where a Storm Surge Warning is in effect. Residents in these areas should follow any advice given by local officials.
Hurricane conditions are expected tonight within the Hurricane Warning area in southeastern Louisiana and are expected by late Tuesday within the Hurricane Warning area along the Mississippi and Alabama coastline. Tropical storm conditions are likely to begin later today and this evening in these areas and preparations should be rushed to completion.
Life-threatening flash flooding is likely, as well as widespread minor to isolated major flooding, on area rivers along and just inland of the Central Gulf Coast. Significant flash and urban flooding, as well as widespread minor to moderate river flooding is likely across Mississippi and Alabama through the middle of the week. Flooding impacts are expected to spread farther across the Southeast through the week. Sally could continue to produce flash flooding across the Florida peninsula and prolong existing minor river flooding across west-central Florida through today.