FIRST ALERT FORECAST: Sally track shifts east
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) -The National Hurricane Center has shifted the forecast track of Tropical Storm Sally slightly back to the east (right) as of the 4 p.m. tropical update.
Any small movement one direction or another will change the impacts greatly. That’s because the worst of Sally will be confined near and east of the center.
So the exact path the center takes is highly important. The current forecast path would limit significant impacts inside the WAFB viewing area. he current forecast has Sally strengthening into a Category 1 or possibly Category 2 Hurricane before landfall occurs late Monday night or early Tuesday morning. Sally is forecast to slow down as it approaches and makes landfall which would cause worsening impacts related to flash flooding and storm surge. The threats associated with Sally remain surge, rain/flash flooding, wind/power outages, and isolated tornadoes.
The majority of the local area remains under a Flash Flood Watch to account for the potential of heavy rainfall set to occur Tuesday into Wednesday. Rainfall amounts will be highly dependent on the exact path of Sally. Staying on the Western (left) side is the better/drier side. That is the side a majority of the WAFB viewing area currently falls on with the 4 PM advisory. But, it is not time to lower our guard. Any slight shift back west would bring significant impacts right back into South Louisiana. Forecast weather models are likely to continue to bounce around by 20-50 miles into Monday evening.
Even with the change in track, storm surge estimates are unchanged. The tidal lakes (Maurepas & Pontchartrain) will see 4-6 feet of storm surge while coastal sections of SE Louisiana will range between 4-11 feet. Significant flooding due to storm surge is forecast to occur from the mouth of the Mississippi River east to Ocean Springs, MS. 4-6 feet of tidal lake surge is also significant. Lower reaches of area rivers will not be allowed to drain causing a backlog of water to build. Additional river flooding upstream will be highly contingent on rainfall totals accumulated in upstream catch basins.
Wind associated from Sally will cause sporadic power outages across the local area. Coastal sections of Louisiana could experience Tropical Storm force wind gusts as early as Monday morning. Wind impacts near metro Baton Rouge are forecast to occur during the day Tuesday as Sally makes inland progress. Widespread power outages are expected near and just east of the center.
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