Sally looks to spare south Louisiana as several weeks of hurricane season remain

NHC deputy director talks about unusual hurricane season; coastal Miss., Ala. brace for Hurricane Sally

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - With Hurricane Sally churning along the Gulf Coast, the good news is impacts in south Louisiana are going down, but the storm still poses a big threat for folks in Mississippi and Alabama.

Ed Rappaport, deputy director of the National Hurricane Center (NHC), tells WAFB it’s not likely the storm will reach Category 3 strength, but it could still pack quite the punch between the storm surge and the intense rain the slow-moving system could dump on the coast.

“You can see the center now is about 100 miles offshore from Mississippi and Alabama,” Rappaport said. “We can expect 15 or maybe even 20 inches of rain locally around the center of storm. That water will be draining down through the rivers and then the storm surge will be trying to push up the rivers, so there’s a great risk of flooding from the combination of the storm surge and the rainfall.”

Smack dab in the middle of peak hurricane season, there were five named storms swirling around the Atlantic at one point Monday, Sept. 14. It’s just the second time this has happened ever, on record.

“Not only do we have Sally, we have Hurricane Paulette in the Atlantic, the advisory just written on that one. We have tropical storms Teddy, Vicky, and another system coming off the coast of Africa," said WAFB Meteorologist Dr. Steve Caparotta.

“This is the time of year. This is the week in fact, traditionally, that we have the peak of hurricane season,” said Rappaport. “We still have a couple of months to go, but it’s not too surprising to see multiple storms. It is surprising to see five.”

While it’s certainly something to watch, Rappaport says most of the storms out there right now are not expected to target the U.S.

The 2020 hurricane season will last until Monday, Nov. 30.

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