Hurricane Sally

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Hurricane Sally Intensifying Into a Category 2- What to expect for the Carolinas

The slow-moving storm may bring historic flooding

The Bo Thompson Morning Show
September 16, 2020 - 7:45 am

Several concerns are emerging as Hurricane Sally crosses back toward the Florida Gulf Coast area as a restrengthened category 2 Storm. Wind gusts up to 86 mph were measured this morning in Pensacola, Florida, with Gulf Shores, Alabama, seeing wind gusts as high as 93 mph.

Sally rages on with a flash flood emergency issued by the National Weather Service in northwestern Florida for southwestern Okaloosa County, southeastern Santa Rosa County and south-central Escambia County as well as in Alabama for southern Baldwin County. Doppler radar has estimated rainfall totals of 10 to 25 inches in this area so far. Pensacola, Florida has recorded the most with 15 inches of rainfall thus far. 

Nearly 300,000 homes and businesses have lost power in southern Alabama and the Florida Panhandle, according to

Storm surge flooding is ongoing near and east of where Sally's center is crossing the coast. A storm surge of over 5 feet has been recorded so far this morning near Pensacola, Florida. Significant flash flooding with flooded roads and homes has also occurred in numerous spots from southeast Alabama into the western Florida Panhandle.

The outer bands of the storm will be approaching the Carolinas later today with the greatest impact to the area coming Thursday into Friday. Sally is producing the threat of life-threatening flooding rainfall which is expected to continue all the way up the coast into Virginia.

"Some of the heavier rainfall may actually fall through parts of the upstate of South Carolina," Weather Channel Meteorologist Ray Stagich said on WBT's Bo Thompson Morning Show.   


*As of 7:20 A.M.. ET 

A flood watch has been issued until 8:00 am Friday for the following counties: 

North Carolina- Cabarrus, Catawba, Cleveland, Davie, Eastern Polk, Gaston, Greater Rutherford, Henderson, Iredell, Lincoln, Macon, Mecklenburg, Polk Mountains, Rowan, Rutherford Mountains, Southern Jackson, Transylvania and Union County.  

South Carolina- Abbeville, Anderson, Cherokee, Chester, Greater Greenville, Greater Oconee, Greater Pickens, Greenville Mountains, Greenwood, Laurens, Oconee Mountains, Pickens Mountains, Spartanburg, Union SC and York County. 

Georgia- Elbert, Franklin, Habersham, Hart, Rabun and Stephens County. 

Here is the latest rainfall forecast from The National Hurricane Center (NHC)

-8 to 12 inches locally with up to 35 inches on the Gulf Coast from the western Florida Panhandle to extreme southern Alabama through Wednesday. Serious flash flooding and moderate to major river flooding could occur in these areas. More than a half dozen river gauges in this region are forecast to reach a major flood stage, according to NOAA.

-4 to 8 inches, with locally up to 12 inches, is possible farther inland across southern and central Alabama and central Georgia. Significant flash and urban flooding is likely, as well as widespread minor to moderate flooding on some rivers in these areas.

-4 to 6 inches, with locally up to 9 inches, in western South Carolina and western and central North Carolina. Widespread flash flooding and urban flooding is possible in these areas. Minor to moderate river flooding could also occur.

-2 to 5 inches, with locally up to 7 inches, in southeast Virginia. Localized flash flooding is possible in this area.

Storm Surge, High Surf

A potentially life-threatening storm surge is expected along the northern Gulf Coast through Wednesday. This could be exacerbated by heavy rainfall occurring in areas experiencing storm surge.

Below is a look at the locations with the highest storm surge forecast for the Gulf Coast if peak surge occurs at the time of high tide, according to the National Hurricane Center. The next high tide in most of the area below is late Wednesday morning or early Wednesday afternoon.

-4 to 7 feet from Dauphin Island, Alabama, to the Okaloosa/Walton County line in Florida, including Pensacola Bay and Choctawhatchee Bay.

The peak storm surge will be near and to the right of where the center of Sally makes landfall. Large waves could worsen the storm surge impacts in some areas and cause significant beach erosion on much of the northern Gulf Coast.

Isolated tornadoes can't be ruled out with this storm as well.

Stay tuned to WBT for the latest updates on Sally.    


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