Hurricane Sally — one of a record number of storms that have formed so far in the Atlantic this year — is pummeling parts of the Gulf Coast.
After intensifying into a Category 2 hurricane, Sally made landfall on the Alabama coast Wednesday morning. It’s a particularly problematic cyclone because it’s moving relatively slow, which means the storm can dump profound amounts of rain on the region. What’s more, Sally’s winds are forcing surges of ocean water into the coast, resulting in major floods.
“Historic and catastrophic flooding is unfolding along and just inland of the coast from west of Tallahassee, Florida, to Mobile Bay, Alabama,” the National Weather Service wrote Wednesday morning. In inland areas, the agency warns of flash and urban flooding.
Hurricane researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) found that tropical cyclones (which include hurricanes) have, on average, slowed down over the last seven decades, specifically between 1948 to 2017. This means more “crawling” or “stalling” storms capable of deluging regions, sometimes with historic rainfall. Researchers are studying the cause of this slowdown.
“Nothing good can come of a slower storm,” NOAA scientist James Kossin previously told Mashable.
The imagery below from meteorologists and others show how Hurricane Sally is impacting areas like Pensacola, Fla. and Mobile, Ala.
This condo had 5 corners blown out from Hurricane Sally. Other damage around Gulf Shores includes lots of roof damage and flooding still is a problem. The gulf front section of Gulf Shores is cutoff by the water from the mainland. #alwx #HurricaneSally pic.twitter.com/JpgM5tXCgA
— Brian Emfinger (@brianemfinger) September 16, 2020
Hurricane Sally is forecast to crawl northeast through southern Alabama and the Florida Panhandle on Wednesday, dumping up to a foot of rain in some areas.