Sally live updates: Sally dropping torrential rainfall on the Carolinas

Communities across the Gulf Coast braced for historic floods and life-threatening storm surge after Hurricane Sally made landfall as a Category 2 storm Wednesday morning near Gulf Shores, Alabama.

Sally weakened from a hurricane to a tropical storm by 2 p.m. Wednesday, officials with the National Weather Service’s National Hurricane Center said. It was downgraded to a tropical depression late Wednesday.

Here are the latest updates:

Update 3:10 p.m. EDT Sept. 17: Florida and Alabama state emergency management officials are concerned about flooding to some counties.

In the Florida panhandle, Escambia County Emergency Management Manager Eric Gilmore noted the dangers from cresting rivers.

“We are not out of the woods yet,” he said.

Brian Hastings, Alabama Emergency Management Agency director, said inland flooding is a concern. Many rivers are expected to be in moderate of major flood state through the weekend.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Update 1:25 p.m. EDT Sept. 17: Post-Tropical Depression Sally is dropping heavy rainfall on the Carolinas as the storm system continues to fall apart after making landfall, weather officials said in a recent update.

Scattered tornadoes are possible as the storm moves through the northeast.

Flash flood watches are issued for northeast Georgia through upstate South Carolina, for most of North Carolina and parts of southeast Virginia.

Swells from the storm are causing life-threatening surf and rip conditions from the Florida Big Bend to southeastern Louisiana.

Update 5:03 a.m. EDT Sept. 17: Tropical Depression Sally continues to produce torrential rains over eastern Alabama and western and central Georgia, the National Hurricane Center said early Thursday.

In its 5 a.m. EDT advisory, the storm, which had maximum sustained winds of 30 mph, was located about 50 miles southeast of Montgomery, Alabama. It was moving northeast at 12 mph.

There are no coastal watches or warnings currently in effect in connection with the storm, forecasters said.

Read more here.

Update 10:50 p.m. EDT Sept. 16: Sally was downgraded to a tropical depression but continued to drop torrential rains over eastern Alabama and western Georgia.

According to the National Hurricane Center’s 11 p.m. EDT advisory, the center of Sally was located 30 miles south-southeast of Montgomery, Alabama. The storm’s maximum sustained winds dropped to 30 mph, and the storm continues to move northeast at 9 mph.

The weakening storm will move across southeastern Alabama late Wednesday, over central Georgia on Thursday, and move over South Carolina on Thursday night.

Update 9:55 p.m. EDT Sept. 16: The mayor of Orange Beach, Alabama, said Hurricane Sally has killed at least one person, and that the victim’s wife is still missing, several media outlets reported.

Tony Kennon told reporters that the fatality happened on the north side of Orange Beach, where there was a significant amount of flooding. The mayor also said about 120 people were rescued, WTVY reported.

The names of the man and woman have not been released, the television station reported. Kennon did not say how the man died.

Update 7:59 p.m. EDT Sept. 16: Tropical Storm Sally weakened into a minimal storm but continued to dump heavy rains over eastern Alabama and western Georgia.

In its 8 p.m. EDT intermediate advisory, the National Hurricane Center said that Sally’s maximum sustained winds had decreased to 45 mph. However, the hurricane center said “catastrophic and life-threatening flooding” continued over the Florida Panhandle and southern Alabama.

At 8 p.m., Sally was located 70 miles west-northwest of Dothan, Alabama, and was moving northeast at 7 mph.

The next advisory by the National Hurricane Center will be issued at 11 p.m. EDT.

Update 5:53 p.m. EDT Sept. 16: Florida’s westernmost county will be under a nightly curfew beginning Wednesday at sunset, the Pensacola News Journal reported.

Escambia County, which was hit hard when Hurricane Sally made landfall, said the curfew will be in effect for the next three days, county Public Safety Director Jason Rogers said at a news conference.

“We will be enacting a curfew from dusk to dawn for the next three days,” Rogers said. “That curfew will be enforced by the law enforcement community that will be here, and we will reevaluate the need for that curfew in three days.”

Rogers added that as of late afternoon Wednesday, 377 people had been rescued from flooded homes.

Update 4:49 p.m. EDT Sept. 16: Tropical Storm Sally continues to dump heavy rains as it moves through eastern Alabama and into western Georgia.

In its 5 p.m. EDT advisory, the National Hurricane Center said Sally’s maximum sustained winds had decreased to 60 mph as it moved northeast at 7 mph. The center of the storm was located about 55 miles north-northeast of Pensacola, Florida, and 85 miles west of Dothan, Alabama.

Sally has produced rain totals between 10 to 20 inches, with isolated amounts of 30 to 35 inches across the central Gulf Coast from Mobile Bay, Alabama to the Florida Panhandle just west of Tallahassee, the hurricane center said. The NHC warned that the area could continue to experience “historic and catastrophic flooding,” including widespread moderate to major river flooding.

The National Hurricane Center is scheduled to issue an intermediate advisory at 8 p.m. EDT.

Update 4:29 p.m. EDT Sept. 16: Approximately 175,000 Alabama Power Company customers were without power Wednesday afternoon as Tropical Storm Sally continued to push through the state, the Opelika-Auburn News reported.

The vast majority of outages were centered in the Mobile area, according to Alabama Power Company.

Update 3:10 p.m. EDT Sept. 16: Officials are warning people to stay clear of flooded roads as Tropical Storm Sally continues to inundate parts of Alabama and Florida.

Photos posted on social media showed the extent of the damage left by the storm, which continues to churn over the region.

Update 2 p.m. EDT Sept. 16: Sally has weakened from a hurricane to a tropical storm with maximum sustained winds of 70 mph, officials with the National Hurricane Center said in a 2 p.m. advisory.

The storm has dumped heavy rain over parts of Florida and Alabama, causing widespread flooding. Officials with the U.S. Coast Guard were conducting search and rescue overflights along the Eastern Gulf Coast Region on Wednesday.

Update 1 p.m. EDT Sept. 16: The center of Hurricane Sally is moving over the far western portion of the Florida panhandle, officials with the National Weather Service’s National Hurricane Center said in a 1 p.m. advisory.

The storm has weakened slightly, though it remains a Category 1 storm with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph, officials said.

Update 12:10 p.m. EDT Sept. 16: Flooding categorized by officials as “catastrophic and life-threatening” is ongoing Wednesday afternoon along portions of the north-central Gulf Coast as Hurricane Sally crawls over the region, according to officials with the National Weather Service’s National Hurricane Center.

The center of Sally remained near the Alabama/Florida border as of 12 p.m. Wednesday, according to the NHC. Photos posted on social media showed widespread flooding and damage caused by the storm.

Update 11:10 a.m. EDT Sept. 16: Hurricane Sally has been downgraded to a Category 1 storm with maximum sustained winds of 80 mph as it continued to dump rain over parts of the Gulf Coast, according to the National Weather Service’s National Hurricane Center.

“Historic and catastrophic flooding, including widespread moderate to major river flooding, is unfolding,” NHC forecasters said in an 11 a.m. advisory.

Officials said some areas from west of Tallahassee, Florida, to Mobile, Alabama, could see as much as 35 inches of rain.

Heavy rainfall has already flooded several areas, including parts of Pensacola, Florida. Hurricane Sally also pulled down part of city’s Three Mile Bridge, according to multiple reports.

Update 10:05 a.m. EDT Sept. 16: The center of Hurricane Sally continued to crawl over the Alabama/Florida border on Wednesday morning, dumping rain over the region.

Officials with the National Weather Service’s National Hurricane Center said a National Ocean Service water level station in Pensacola, Florida, reported about 5.5 feet of inundation above ground level.

Officials said a wind gust of 77 mph was measured Wednesday morning in Pensacola, Florida. In nearby Mobile, Alabama, officials saw a wind gust of 57 mph.

Photos from the region showed heavy damage and flooding caused by the storm.

Update 9:05 a.m. EDT Sept. 16: Officials with the National Weather Service’s National Hurricane Center said in a 9 a.m. update that hurricane-force winds are continuing to spread inland over southeastern Alabama and the western portion of the Florida panhandle as Hurricane Sally passes overhead.

Update 8:45 a.m. EDT Sept. 16: Officials in southwestern Alabama warned Wednesday of “Severe Widespread Damage from Hurricane Sally” after the Category 2 storm made landfall earlier in the morning near Gulf Shores.

Images on social media showed a portion of the Gulf State Park Pier was ripped away by the storm. The pier has been closed for months for renovations and was slated to reopen this month.

Update 8:07 a.m. EDT Sept. 16: Hurricane-force winds are now occurring in Pensacola, Florida, the National Weather Center said Wednesday morning.

In its 8 a.m. EDT advisory, the agency said the Category 2 storm, which had maximum sustained winds of 100 mph, was about 15 miles north-northeast of Gulf Shores, Alabama, and 25 miles west-southwest of Pensacola, Florida. It was moving north-northeast at 3 mph.

Read more here.

Update 7:46 a.m. EDT Sept. 16: The National Weather Service’s office for Mobile, Alabama, and Pensacola, Florida, is sharing several photos and videos as Hurricane Sally bears down on the region.

Update 7:21 a.m. EDT Sept. 16: Hurricane-force winds are spreading inland over southeastern Alabama and the western portion of the Florida Panhandle, the National Hurricane Center said Wednesday morning.

In its 7 a.m. EDT update, the agency said the storm, which had maximum sustained winds of 105 mph, was over Gulf Shores, Alabama, and was moving north-northeast at 3 mph.

Read more here.

Update 6:05 a.m. EDT Sept. 16: Hurricane Sally made landfall about 5:45 a.m. EDT Wednesday near Gulf Shores, Alabama, according to the National Hurricane Center. It had maximum sustained winds of 105 mph.

Update 5 a.m. EDT Sept. 16: Hurricane Sally’s northern eyewall with hurricane conditions is moving across the Gulf Coast from Pensacola Beach, Florida, westward to Dauphin Island, Alabama, the National Hurricane Center said early Wednesday.

In its 5 a.m. EDT advisory, the Category 2 storm, which had maximum sustained winds of 105 mph, was about 50 miles south-southeast of Mobile, Alabama, and 40 miles southwest of Pensacola, Florida. It was moving north-northeast at 3 mph.

Read more here.

Update 2:40 a.m. EDT Sept. 16: Hurricane Sally’s winds have intensified to 105 mph, the National Hurricane Center said early Wednesday. It remains a Category 2 hurricane.

In a special 2:30 a.m. EDT advisory, the agency said the storm continues to strengthen as hurricane conditions spread along the Gulf Coast from Pensacola Beach, Florida, westward to Dauphin Island, Alabama. The hurricane, which was moving north-northeast at 2 mph, was located about 60 miles south-southeast of Mobile, Alabama, and 55 miles southwest of Pensacola, Florida, forecasters said.

Read more here.

Update 1:33 a.m. EDT Sept. 16: Hurricane Sally has strengthened into a Category 2 storm with 100 mph winds, the National Hurricane Center said early Wednesday.

Update 11:16 p.m. EDT Sept. 15: A slightly strengthened Hurricane Sally is holding steady with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph and is now moving north-northeast at 2 mph.

According to the National Hurricane Center’s 11 p.m. EDT advisory, Sally is located about 65 miles south-southeast of Mobile, Alabama, and about 60 miles southwest of Pensacola, Florida. The eastward shift, however, means the storm is currently most likely to make landfall in the Pensacola, Florida, area Wednesday morning.

The hurricane warning has been extended east of Navarre, Florida, to the Okaloosa-Walton County line in Florida, and the storm surge warning has been extended east of the Okaloosa-Walton County Line to the Walton-Bay County Line.

A north-northeastward to northeastward motion at a slightly faster forward speed is expected on Wednesday and Wednesday night, followed by a faster northeastward motion on Thursday.

Some strengthening is possible before landfall, most likely in the early-morning hours Wednesday, and Sally is expected to be a dangerous hurricane when it moves onshore along the north-central Gulf Coast.

Update 10:06 p.m. EDT Sept. 15: Hurricane Sally has strengthened slightly with maximum sustained winds increasing to 85 mph. The Category 1 storm continues to move north at 2 mph, and conditions appear favorable for continued intensification prior to landfall, most likely in the early-morning hours Wednesday.

Update 8:38 p.m. EDT Sept. 15: Hurricane Sally continued lumbering toward the north-central Gulf Coast on Tuesday night with maximum sustained winds holding steady near 80 mph.

The Category 1 storm is currently located about 75 miles south of Mobile, Alabama, and about 75 miles southwest of Pensacola, Florida, moving north at 2 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Per the NHC’s latest forecast track, Sally’s center will approach the northern Gulf Coast Tuesday night, making landfall as a Category 1 storm in the hurricane warning area either late Tuesday or early Wednesday.

The current hurricane warning extends from east of Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, to Navarre, Florida, while a tropical storm warning remains in effect from east of Navarre to Indian Pass, Florida, and from Bay St. Louis westward to Grade Isle, Louisiana.

According to the NHC, rainfall remains the largest threat from the slow-moving storm and “historic life-threatening flash-flooding is also expected.” Sally is forecast to dump between 10 and 20 inches of rain across impacted areas, with isolated totals of 30 inches possible along and just inland of the central Gulf Coast from the Florida panhandle west of the Apalachicola River to far southeastern Mississippi.

A slow northward motion is expected to continue Tuesday night, followed by a slow north-northwestward to northeastward shift on Wednesday and Wednesday night as Sally moves inland across southeastern Alabama on Wednesday night and Thursday.

Hurricane-force winds currently extend outward up to 40 miles from Sally’s eye, and tropical storm-force winds extend outward up to 125 miles.

Click here to see prior coverage of Hurricane Sally’s formation, development and progress.

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