Hurricane Sally made landfall in the southern United States on Wednesday. The eye of the storm, accompanied by winds of about 165 kilometres per hour, passed the Alabama town of Gulf Shores in the early morning.
The hurricane is one of the second on a scale of five, the National Hurricane Center reports. It warns of “catastrophic and life-threatening floods” in the affected coastal area. Sally is expected to head northeast through the interior in the coming days.
Stacy Stewart of the National Hurricane Center tells USA Today that the slow-moving Sally can drop about three feet of rain in places. Meteorologist Phil Klotzbach at Colorado State University also expects a lot of rain. “It’s not going to be good,” he says.
Some coastal areas on the Gulf of Mexico have already been inundated with over 18 inches of rain in the past 24 hours. Parts of Pensacola, Florida, were ravaged by flooding that brought water up to five feet high, the National Hurricane Center said.
Due to the storm, almost 500,000 homes and shops in Alabama and Florida are now without power. That number is expected to increase further. Videos on social media show that the Gulf Shores hurricane is uprooting trees, blowing away street signs and cars getting stuck due to the flooding.