Still Reeling from Hurricane Laura, Gulf Coast Prepares for Hurricane Sally’s Imminent Landfall
Less than three weeks after Hurricane Laura left more than a third of Louisiana a disaster zone, the Gulf Coast is bracing for yet another dangerous hurricane.
Now a Category 1 storm, Hurricane Sally is expected to strengthen before making landfall early Tuesday as a potential Category 2. The slow-moving hurricane is forecast to strike southeastern Louisiana, though it’s still too early to determine exactly where Sally's center would move onshore.
“I know for a lot of people this storm seemed to come out of nowhere,” Louisiana Governor John Bel Edward said in a statement. “We need everybody to pay attention to this storm. Let’s take this one seriously.”
Sally is likely to bring "life-threatening storm surge, hurricane-force winds, and flash flooding" along the Gulf Coast as soon as Monday, the Hurricane Center reports. Experts predict eight to 16 inches of rain, with some areas seeing up to 24 inches. As such, hurricane warnings are currently in effect from Morgan City, Louisiana, to the Alabama and Florida border—including New Orleans, which is currently sheltering thousands of Hurricane Laura evacuees.
"New Orleans is better prepared for a hurricane than she's ever been before, but if you get 18 inches of water in 10 hours, I think Aspen, Colorado, would probably flood,” Edwards continued. “So, I'm concerned, but not paralyzed by it.”
New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell has issued a mandatory evacuation for neighborhoods outside the levee protection system, including Venetian Isles, Lake Catherine, and Irish Bayou. St. Charles Parish and parts of Plaquemines Parish and Jefferson Parish are also under mandatory evacuation orders.
After Sally makes landfall in Louisiana, it is expected to crawl over Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida's Panhandle on Tuesday into Wednesday. According to the Hurricane Center, the area from the mouth of the Mississippi River to Ocean Springs, Mississippi, could see up to 11 feet of storm surge.
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"The bottom line continues to be that Sally is expected to be a dangerous, slow-moving hurricane near the coast of southeastern Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama during the next two to three days," Eric Blake, a senior hurricane specialist with the National Hurricane Center, wrote in an update early Monday morning.
This story is developing.