BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Hurricane Sally has weakened some overnight as it slowly moves towards the Central Gulf Coast.
Sally is forecast to remain a Category 1 hurricane at landfall. Water upwelling due to slow forward motion and moderate to at times high wind shear will keep Sally from further strengthening before landfall. Landfall is forecast to occur Wednesday morning near the Mississippi/Alabama state line.
INFORMATION FROM THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER:
4 P.M. ADVISORY
Tropical storm-force winds are spreading onshore along the north-central Gulf Coast. Historic, life-threatening flooding is likely along portions of the northern Gulf Coast.
LOCATION: 29.5 N 88.1 W, about 85 miles south of Mobile, Ala. and about 90 miles southwest of Pensacola, Fla.
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS: 80 mph
PRESENT MOVEMENT: North at 2 mph
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE: 979 mb
At 4 p.m., the center of Hurricane Sally was located near latitude 29.5 North, longitude 88.1 West. 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 (130 km/h) 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).
Torrential rain and storm surge will be the most significant threats associated with Sally in Mississippi and Alabama. Storm surge of 6-9 feet will be possible from the mouth of the Mississippi River all the way into Mobile Bay. Rainfall estimates in some parts of Alabama could reach 24″or more.
Locally, impacts will be very minimal. The biggest issue will be storm surge along the extreme SE Louisiana coast. Storm surge values within the tidal lakes of Maurepas and Pontchartrain has been decreased with the latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center. Storm surge of 2-4 feet is currently forecast, but values within the WAFB viewing area (lower Livingston, Ascension, and Tangipahoa Parishes) will likely be on the order of 1-2 feet. That will be manageable and likely less than what we saw from Hurricane Laura.
Winds will stay breezy over the next few days as Sally slowly moves north and then farther away from the local area. It is unlikely winds will be strong enough to cause problems locally.
Rainfall amounts will be manageable with most locations staying less than 0.10″ through Wednesday. Rains will be confined to rain bands that can wrap around the circulation of Sally. The majority of rain will stay on the east side of the circulation.
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