The Slatest

Hurricane Sally Gains Strength, Hits Gulf Coast as Category 2 Storm

Water floods a road as the outer bands of Hurricane Sally come ashore  in Gulf Shores, Alabama.
Water floods a road as the outer bands of Hurricane Sally come ashore in Gulf Shores, Alabama. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Hurricane Sally made landfall early Wednesday morning as a Category 2 storm battering Gulf Shores, Alabama. The storm had paused in the Gulf of Mexico, where it spent two days spinning some 150 miles off the coast gathering strength before it slowly headed toward the Alabama coast and the Florida Panhandle packing 105 mph winds. The storm brought with it a deluge of rain and a wall of water in from the gulf creating a severe risk of flooding. After making landfall, Hurricane Sally was moving northeast along the Alabama-Florida border at about 3 mph, a slow pace that makes flooding the storm’s greatest danger.

“While it was in its Gulf of Mexico holding pattern, Sally picked up tremendous amounts of moisture from the deep, warm waters, which are now wringing out in the form of extremely heavy rainfall,” the Washington Post reports. “Early Wednesday , flash-flood emergencies—the most urgent, rarely used flash flood-related alerts—were issued for Pensacola, Fla., and nearby areas, and more are being issued.”

Overnight, some 350,000 people lost power in Alabama and Florida. The full extent of the damage is not yet clear, but this latest hit comes just weeks after Hurricane Laura slammed the Gulf Coast. The U.S. coast appears headed for more destructive storms from the Atlantic; this hurricane season has been so disruptive that halfway through it’s been dubbed “hyperactive.” On Monday, there were five concurrent named storms in the Atlantic, something that hasn’t occurred in 50 years.