More weakening expected as Sally continues slow churn over Gulf Coast

FIRST ALERT FORECAST: Wed., Sept. 16 - Sally makes landfall; quiet morning at home

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The following information was provided by the National Hurricane Center:

The center of the eye of Category 2 Hurricane Sally made landfall near Gulf Shores, Ala around 4:45 a.m. Catastrophic and life-threatening flooding is occurring over portions of the Florida panhandle and southern Alabama.

LOCATION: 30.6N 87.4W. About 15 miles west-northwest of Pensacola, Fla.

MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS: 80 mph

PRESENT MOVEMENT: North-northeast at 5 mph

MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE: 975 mb

At 1000 AM CDT (1500 UTC), the center of Hurricane Sally was located by NWS Doppler radar and surface observations near latitude 30.6 North, longitude 87.4 West. Sally is moving toward the north- northeast near 5 mph (7 km/h), and a north-northeastward to northeastward motion at a slightly faster forward speed is expected later today and tonight. A faster northeastward motion is forecast Thursday and Thursday night. 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.

Maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 80 mph (130 km/h) with higher gusts. Additional weakening is expected as the center moves farther inland this afternoon and tonight, and Sally is forecast to become a tropical depression by Thursday morning.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 35 miles (55 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 125 miles (205 km). A wind gust of 82 mph (135 km/h) was recently observed at the Pensacola Naval Air Station, in Pensacola, Florida. A wind gust of 68 mph (110 km/h) was recently reported at the Mobile Downtown Airport, in Mobile, Alabama.

The estimated minimum central pressure based on surface observations is 975 mb (28.79 inches).

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