Sally spreads torrential rain, Georgia flooding, Carolinas, Virginia


  • Sally made landfall Wednesday morning near Gulf Shores, Alabama.
  • Sally’s inland flash flood threat is spreading to Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia.
  • Areas as far north as southern Virginia could receive 6 or more inches of rain.
  • Sally’s winds have weakened as the storm moves inland.
  • Sally has triggered catastrophic flooding caused by both torrential rains and storm surges along the Gulf Coast.

Hurricane Sally made landfall early Wednesday morning near the Alabama-Florida border, with catastrophic flooding, damaging storm surges and high winds. Sally will spread the threat of rain flooding well inland across the southeast until Friday morning.

Sally made landfall near Gulf Shores, Alabama at 4:45 a.m. CDT Wednesday as a Category 2 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 105 mph. It has since weakened to a tropical depression.

It happens now

The Sally center is approximately 50 miles southeast of Montgomery, Alabama. Sally picks up speed and weakens as she moves inland over the Deep South.

Flood rains and gusts of wind continue to pound parts of Georgia and spread to the Carolinas.

(LATEST: Sally brings a storm surge and torrential rains)

Current radar, watches and warnings

High winds will continue this morning in parts of Georgia where the National Weather Service has issued wind advisories. Wind gusts of over 30 mph have recently been reported in the Atlanta area.

Heavy rains caused flooding in many areas of southeast Alabama and parts of southern and central Georgia from Wednesday to Thursday morning.

The heaviest rains, however, occurred along parts of the Alabama Coast and the West Florida Panhandle. The highest measured precipitation total to date is just over 24 inches at Naval Air Force Base in Pensacola. Another estimated 30 inch precipitation total was also reported near northwest Pensacola.


Future Track, intensity

Sally continues to move northeast to southeast.

The storm will continue to weaken forward speed as it follows inland through Georgia and the Carolinas until Friday.

Current information and planned path

(The area shaded in red indicates the potential path of the center of the tropical cyclone. It is important to note that impacts (especially heavy rains, heavy waves, coastal flooding, winds) with any tropical cyclone usually spread to the – beyond its intended path.)

Flooding rains

Heavy rains from Sally will trigger flooding further inland in other parts of eastern Alabama, Georgia and the Carolinas through early Friday. The NOAA Weather Forecast Center issued a moderate risk of excessive precipitation from northeast Georgia to southeast Virginia through early Friday.

Here are the latest NHC precipitation forecasts:

-An additional 3 to 6 inches, with totals of up to 12 inches, are possible in central Georgia. Widespread flash floods as well as minor to moderate flooding on some rivers are likely in these areas.

-3 to 6 inches, locally up to 10 inches, in central and northern South Carolina. Generalized flash floods and urban flooding are possible in these areas. Minor to moderate river flooding could also occur.

-4 to 6 inches, locally up to 8 inches, in W and C North Carolina to SE Virginia. Scattered flash floods and generalized minor floods are possible in this area.

Precipitation forecast

(This forecast shows the additional precipitation to be expected along Sally’s journey as she moves further inland.)

More than a half-dozen river gauges in the Florida Panhandle and southern Alabama are expected to reach a major flood stage, according to NOAA.

Flood watches were issued by the National Weather Service from eastern Alabama to southern Virginia.

Flood alerts

(Flood watches mean flooding could occur in this area over the next few days, while flood warnings mean flooding is expected or in progress.)


Isolated tornadoes are possible through Friday morning in parts of eastern Georgia, much of South Carolina and eastern North Carolina.

Thursday severe thunderstorm forecast

(According to the NOAA Storm Prediction Center, the probability of severe thunderstorms is shaded on the map above. Note that not all categories apply to severe weather risk on a particular day.)

Sally recap

Sally was born as Tropical Depression Nineteen, off the south coast of Florida on September 11.

The following afternoon, the depression intensified to Tropical Storm Sally over the Gulf of Mexico, just off the southwest coast of Florida.

Torrential rains inundated parts of the Florida Keys on September 12. Parts of the Keys received nearly a foot of rain.

Sally also soaked parts of the western Florida peninsula on September 13 as she moved north over the eastern Gulf of Mexico.

Just before noon on September 14, the Hurricane Hunter reconnaissance aircraft discovered that Sally had intensified into a hurricane as it was centered about 165 miles southeast of Biloxi, Mississippi.

Sally then slowed down to crawl, and as with many tropical storms and slow hurricanes, it became a challenge to predict exactly when and, therefore, where it would take its turn north toward the Gulf Coast.

Sally eventually developed a small internal core, which allowed her to strengthen into a Category 2 hurricane before making landfall. near Gulf Shores, Alabama, on the morning of September 16.

Sally became the eighth tropical cyclone of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season to make landfall in the continental United States, a record number until mid-September, according to Phil Klotzbach, a tropical scientist at the University of Colorado State.

Sally also made landfall in the exact same location as Category 3 Hurricane Ivan in 2004.

A rather fascinating quirk about Sally was a drop in the water level.

As Sally moved inland on September 16, water levels at Mobile Bay dropped 3 to 9 feet below normal for a brief moment as strong northerly winds pushed the water out. from the mouth of Mobile Bay.

Storm surges flooding areas where Sally’s center crossed the coast, from Alabama to West Florida, Panhandle.

A 5.6-foot storm surge was recorded in Pensacola, Florida. Parts of the downtown area of ​​the city were submerged by several feet of water due to the storm surge and heavy rains. Peak flooding 3 to 4 feet above normal high tide levels were also recorded at Panama City Beach and Dauphin Island, Alabama.

Severe flash floods with homes and roads flooded – parts of which were washed away – also occurred in many locations from southeast Alabama to the Florida Panhandle and southwest Georgia. This torrential downpour in addition to the storm surge combined to produce catastrophic flooding near the Gulf Coast.

Flash flood emergencies were issued by the National Weather Service on Wednesday in western Florida for parts of Escambia, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Walton and Washington counties. Record flooding has been measured on the Shoal River near Mossy Head in Walton County, Florida.

These highest level flash flood warnings were also issued in Southeast Alabama for Southeast Baldwin, Northern Coffee Counties, and Northern Dale, where the NWS estimated that the rainfall rates of 4 to 6 inches in an hour would occur.

A 92 mph wind gust was measured early Wednesday morning in Pensacola, Florida. Dauphin Island, Alabama, and Mobile, Alabama recorded wind gusts reaching 99 mph and 82 mph, respectively.

More than 500,000 homes and businesses lost power in Alabama and the Florida Panhandle, according to

While not as strong as the winds in the hours before or after landing near the coast, many trees have been reported in Montgomery and Pike counties, Alabama, among other areas.

The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on the latest weather news, the environment and the importance of science in our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.


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