According to the National Hurricane Center, Hurricane Sally is battering the Gulf Coast at a slow pace and with massive amounts of rain, unleashing “catastrophic and life-threatening” flooding along parts of the Florida Panhandle and southern Alabama.
Early Wednesday Sally’s eye crossed over land near Gulf Shores, Alabama, as a Category 2 hurricane with sustained winds of 105 mph. It intensified in the hours before hitting shore.
The eye was about 15 miles west-northwest of Pensacola, Florida as of mid-Wednesday morning, with winds of 80 mph.
Sally is now slowly inching north-northeast at 5 mph, maintaining an excruciating pace that could mean up to almost three feet of rain in some places and produce storm surges as high as seven feet, forecasters said. Rainfall is already being measured in feet and not inches, and tornadoes remain a possibility.
“On the forecast track, the center of Sally will move across the extreme western Florida panhandle and southeastern Alabama through early Thursday, move over central Georgia on Thursday, and move over South Carolina Thursday night,” says the National Hurricane Center.