Coastal evacuation urged as Hurricane Sally aims for Alabama

Updated: Sep. 15, 2020 at 11:00 AM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Alabama is bracing for a potentially historic and dangerous situation as Hurricane Sally edges eastward toward the state’s coastline.

“Hurricane Sally is not to be taken for granted," said Gov. Kay Ivey at a news conference called Tuesday morning. "We are looking at record flooding.”

Sally is now projected to make landfall in the vicinity of Mobile Bay early Wednesday morning, according to WSFA 12 First Alert meteorologists. It will then move very slowly northeast and then turn eastward. This track will bring the center of the storm across central and south Alabama.

Ivey was joined by Alabama EMA Director Brian Hastings and the National Weather Service’s John De Block in assessing the storm.

“Sally is shaping up to be a very dangerous and historic flood event,” Hastings cautioned, adding that if you are in a low lying area or flood prone area, you need to get to a safe place now and make sure you have food, water and batteries for at least 72 hours. He said to expect widespread power outages.

Ivey declared a state of emergency Monday morning, ordered beaches closed. and recommended people evacuate from the Gulf Coast. Her order also put state agencies and the Alabama National Guard on alert to be ready to assist.

Hastings said high water rescue teams have already been activated in Mobile and Baldwin counties and that swift water rescue teams are also ready. He added that FEMA and neighboring states have already offered help.

De Block said the NWS is forecasting record flooding possible in Mobile and Baldwin counties and said the system is “drifting to the north at the speed of a child in a candy shop,” or about two miles per hour.

De Block said as Sally moves up the I-65 corridor, it could dump eight to 10 inches of rain on the Montgomery area, producing the threat of tornadoes as well as flash flooding and river flooding.

“We will continue closely monitoring the developments today, and I urge everyone in the coastal areas south of I-10 and in low-lying areas to take all precautions and heed advice from weather experts and local officials," Ivey said after confirming the Trump administration has already approved the state’s Emergency Disaster Declaration.

Ivey praised the Trump administration’s quick response and said the White House has been in constant communication and that “they are keeping their eye on Alabama.”

“I urge everyone to evacuate if you live in low-lying areas,” Ivey said concluding her news conference. “I know you want to protect your family and property, but this is not worth risking your life.”

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