Miami, Florida, (Florida News Network)-At 500 PM EDT, The center of Hurricane Sally was located near latitude 29.5 North, longitude 88.1 West. About 85 miles south of Mobile, Alabama, about 90 miles southwest of Pensacola, Florida.
Sally is moving toward the north near 2 mph (4 km/h). A slow northward motion is expected tonight, followed by a slow north-northeastward to northeastward motion on Wednesday and Wednesday night. A slightly faster northeastward motion is expected on Thursday. On the forecast track, the center of Sally will approach the northern Gulf Coast tonight, and make landfall in the hurricane warning area late tonight or Wednesday. Sally is expected to move inland across southeastern Alabama Wednesday night and Thursday.
Data from a NOAA Hurricane Hunter aircraft and NWS Doppler radar indicates that maximum sustained winds are near 80 mph with higher gusts. Little change in strength is forecast until landfall occurs and Sally is expected to be a dangerous hurricane when it moves onshore along the north-central Gulf Coast.
Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 40 miles (65 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 125 miles (205 km). A NOAA buoy located about 50 miles (80 km) southeast of Mobile, Alabama, recently reported sustained winds of 58 mph (94 km/h) and a gust to 67 mph (108 km/h) within the past couple of hours. An observing site at the Okaloosa Fishing Pier in Florida has reported sustained winds of 44 mph (70 km/h) and a gust to 52 mph (83 km/h).
The latest minimum central pressure estimated from reconnaissance aircraft data is 979 mb (28.91 inches).
A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for...* Mouth of the Mississippi River to the Okaloosa/Walton County Line Florida
* Mobile Bay
A Hurricane Warning is in effect for...* East of Bay St. Louis to Navarre Florida
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for...
* East of Navarre Florida to Indian Pass Florida
* Bay St. Louis westward to Grand Isle Louisiana
RAINFALL: Sally is forecast to produce 10 to 20 inches of rainfall with isolated amounts of 30 inches along and just inland of the central Gulf Coast from the Florida Panhandle west of the Apalachicola River to far southeastern Mississippi. Historic life-threatening flash flooding is likely. In addition, this rainfall will lead to widespread moderate to major flooding on area rivers.
Sally is forecast to turn inland Wednesday and track across the Southeast producing rainfall of 4 to 8 inches, with isolated maximum amounts of 12 inches, across portions of southeastern Mississippi,southern and central Alabama, central and northern Georgia, and the western Carolinas. Significant flash and urban flooding is likely,as well as widespread minor to moderate flooding on some rivers.
STORM SURGE: The combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline. The water could reach the following heights above ground somewhere in the indicated areas if the peak surge occurs at the time of high tide...
Dauphin Island, AL to AL/FL Border including Mobile Bay...4-6 ft
Mouth of the Mississippi River to Mouth of the Pearl River including Lake Borgne...3-5 ft
MS/AL Border to Dauphin Island, AL...3-5 ft
AL/FL Border to Okaloosa/Walton County Line, FL including Pensacola Bay and Choctawhatchee Bay...3-5 ft
Mouth of the Pearl River to MS/AL Border...2-4 ft
Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Maurepas...2-4 ft
Okaloosa/Walton County Line, FL to Chassahowitzka, FL including Saint Andrews Bay...1-3 ft
Grand Isle, LA to Mouth of the Mississippi River...1-3 ft
The deepest water will occur along the immediate coast in areas of onshore winds, where the surge will be accompanied by large and damaging waves. Surge-related flooding depends on the relative timing of the surge and the tidal cycle, and can vary greatly over short distances. For information specific to your area, please see products issued by your local National Weather Service forecast office.
WIND: Hurricane conditions are expected to begin within the hurricane warning area this evening. Tropical storm conditions are already occurring in portions of the warning areas, and will continue through Wednesday night.
TORNADOES: A few tornadoes may occur this evening through Wednesday across portions of the Florida Panhandle and southern Alabama.
SURF: Swells from Sally will continue to affect the coast from the Florida Big Bend westward to southeastern Louisiana during the next
couple of days. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.
Data and graphic credit: National Hurricane Center