Latest on Sally, Flash Flood Watch Expanded, & Wind Advisory Issued


At 4:00 PM CDT, the center of Hurricane Sally was located near latitude 29.5 North, longitude 88.1 West, or roughly 85 miles south of Mobile, AL. Sally is moving toward the north near 2 MPH. A slow northward motion is expected tonight, followed by a slow north-northeastward to a northeastward motion on Wednesday and Wednesday night. A slightly faster northeastward motion is expected on Thursday. On the forecast track, the center of Sally will approach the northern Gulf Coast tonight, and make landfall in the hurricane warning area late tonight or Wednesday. Sally is expected to move inland across southeastern Alabama Wednesday night and Thursday.

Data from an NOAA Hurricane Hunter aircraft and NWS Doppler radar indicates that maximum sustained winds are near 80 MPH with higher gusts. Little change in strength is forecast until landfall occurs and Sally is expected to be a dangerous hurricane when it moves onshore along the north-central Gulf Coast. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 40 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 125 miles. A NOAA buoy located about 50 miles southeast of Mobile, Alabama, recently reported sustained winds of 58 MPH and a gust to 67 MPH within the past couple of hours. An observing site at the Okaloosa Fishing Pier in Florida has reported sustained winds of 44 MPH and a gust to 52 MPH.

Sally is forecast to produce 10 to 20 inches of rainfall with isolated amounts of 30 inches along and just inland of the central Gulf Coast from the Florida Panhandle west of the Apalachicola River to far southeastern Mississippi. Historic life-threatening flash flooding is likely. In addition, this rainfall will lead to widespread moderate to major flooding on area rivers. Sally is forecast to turn inland Wednesday and track across the Southeast producing rainfall of 4 to 8 inches, with isolated maximum amounts of 12 inches, across portions of southeastern Mississippi, southern and central Alabama, central and northern Georgia, and the western Carolinas. Significant flash and urban flooding is likely, as well as widespread minor to moderate flooding on some rivers.

The combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline. The deepest water will occur along the immediate coast in areas of onshore winds, where the surge will be accompanied by large and damaging waves. Surge-related flooding depends on the relative timing of the surge and the tidal cycle and can vary greatly over short distances. The water could reach the following heights above ground somewhere in the indicated areas if the peak surge occurs at the time of high tide:

• Dauphin Island, AL to AL/FL Border including Mobile Bay…4-6 ft
• The mouth of the Mississippi River to Mouth of the Pearl River including Lake Borgne…3-5 ft
• MS/AL Border to Dauphin Island, AL…3-5 ft
• AL/FL Border to Okaloosa/Walton County Line, FL including Pensacola Bay and Choctawhatchee Bay…3-5 ft
• The mouth of the Pearl River to MS/AL Border…2-4 ft
• Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Maurepas…2-4 ft
• Okaloosa/Walton County Line, FL to Chassahowitzka, FL including Saint Andrews Bay…1-3 ft
• Grand Isle, LA to Mouth of the Mississippi River…1-3 ft

Hurricane conditions are expected to begin within the hurricane warning area this evening. Tropical storm conditions are already occurring in portions of the warning areas and will continue through Wednesday night. A few tornadoes may occur this evening through Wednesday across portions of the Florida Panhandle and southern Alabama.

Swells from Sally will continue to affect the coast from the Florida Big Bend westward to southeastern Louisiana during the next couple of days. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.


NWS Birmingham has updated the Flash Flood Watch by expanding it in time and in area. The timing is now set to go into effect at 7:00 am Wednesday and is now set to expire at 7:00 pm Thursday. NWS Birmingham has also added back Blount, Cherokee, and Etowah counties to the watch.

Other counties included in the watch are 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.


NWS Birmingham has issued a Wind Advisory for Autauga, Barbour, Bullock, Dallas, Elmore, Lee, Lowndes, Macon, Marengo, Montgomery, Perry, Pike, and Russell counties starting at 7:00 am Wednesday and set to expire at 7:00 pm Thursday.

Sustained winds out of the east at 25 MPH with gusts up to 35 to 45 MPH are possible and could blow around unsecured objects. Weaker trees and tree limbs could be blown down and a few power outages may result.

A Wind Advisory means that wind gusts of 35 mph or more are expected. Winds this strong can make driving difficult…especially for high profile vehicles. Use extra caution. Secure all loose outdoor objects.

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