Sally was moving across Alabama and the Florida Panhandle on Wednesday as a tropical storm after making landfall but “historic and catastrophic flooding” was still unfolding on its path.Nearly 12 hours after the crawling cyclone smashed ashore as a Category 2 hurricane, cars were partially submerged, homes and marinas shredded and more than half a million customers had lost power.In Escambia County, Florida, which includes Pensacola, at least 377 people have been rescued from flooded neighborhoods, Jason Rogers, the county’s public safety director, told reporters in a news briefing.”It’s going to be a long time, folks … to come out of this thing,” Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan said earlier Wednesday, warning there could be thousands of evacuations.In Orange Beach, Alabama, winds blew out walls in one corner of a condominium building, exposing the interiors of condos on at least five floors, video posted online showed. Other images showed buildings with roof damage and stranded boats shoved onshore by storm surge.At least 50 people in Orange Beach were rescued from flooded homes and taken to shelters, Mayor Tony Kennon said.“We got a few people that we just haven’t been able to get to because the water is so high,” Kennon said. “But they are safe in their home, as soon as the water recedes, we will rescue them.”The U.S. National Hurricane Center said the storm’s maximum sustained winds decreased Wednesday night to 35 mph with additional weakening expected as Sally moves inland.As of 10 p.m. Central time, the storm was centered about 30 miles south-southeast of Montgomery, Alabama, and moving northeast at 9 mph. Storm makes landfall slowlySally lumbered ashore near the Florida-Alabama line as a Category 2 hurricane Wednesday with 105 mph winds and rain measured in feet, not inches, swamping homes and trapping people in high water as it crept inland for what could be a long, slow and disastrous drenching across the Deep South.Moving at an agonizing 3 mph, or about as fast as a person can walk, the storm made landfall at 4:45 a.m. near Gulf Shores, Alabama, after battering for hours a stretch of coastline that includes Mobile, Alabama, and Pensacola, Florida. Flash floods pushed water into homes in Alabama and Florida, and officials in Pensacola and surrounding Escambia County, with a combined population of about 320,000, urged residents to stick to text messages for contacting family and friends to keep cellphone service open for 911 calls.More than 2 feet of rain was recorded near Naval Air Station Pensacola, and nearly 3 feet of water covered streets in downtown Pensacola, the National Weather Service reported.“It’s not common that you start measuring rainfall in feet,” said National Weather Service forecaster David Eversole in Mobile, Alabama. “Sally’s moving so slowly, so it just keeps pounding and pounding and pounding the area with tropical rain and just powerful winds. It’s just a nightmare.”A flood emergency and over a half million outagesFloodwaters have turned streets into rivers in Pensacola.The weather service had declared a flash flood emergency for “severe threat to human life & catastrophic damage from a flash flood.”Power has been knocked out for more than 500,000 customers in Alabama and Florida alone, utility tracker PowerOutage.us reported.Rainfall totals of 10 to 35 inches are possible from Mobile Bay to Tallahassee, Florida, forecasters said.Sally came ashore 16 years to the day that a Category 3 Hurricane Ivan struck roughly the same areas.Sally’s slow forward speed is expected to continue through Wednesday as it moves northeast, taking with it strong winds and more flooding potential.Parts of Alabama and the Carolinas could see flash flooding, according to the National Hurricane Center.Mandatory evacuations were ordered for much of the coast and low-lying areas from Mississippi to Florida, and shelters opened to accommodate evacuees.Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said “pretty much any body of water in Northwest Florida” could see a rise in levels over the next few days because of Sally.”There is going to be a lot of a lot of property damage,” DeSantis said in a news briefing Wednesday. “When you see downtown Pensacola, you see three feet of water there, that’s going to affect probably every business that’s in downtown Pensacola — there’s just no two ways about it.”It was the second hurricane to hit the Gulf Coast in less than three weeks and the latest blow in one of the busiest hurricane seasons ever recorded, so frenetic that forecasters have nearly run through the alphabet of storm names with 2 1/2 months still to go. At the start of the week, Sally was one of a record-tying five storms churning simultaneously in the Atlantic, strung out like charms on a bracelet.Like the wildfires raging on the West Coast, the onslaught of hurricanes has focused attention on climate change, which scientists say is causing slower, rainier, more powerful and more destructive storms.Street lights were knocked out in downtown Mobile, a city of about 190,000, where a stoplight snapped, swinging wildly on its cable. Trees were bent over as the rain blew sideways in the howling wind. In downtown Pensacola, car alarms went off, the flashing lights illuminating the floodwaters surrounding parked cars.Before sunrise, water was up to the doors of Jordan Muse’s car outside the Pensacola hotel where her family took shelter after fleeing their mobile home a few miles away. The power failed early in the morning, making it too stuffy to sleep. Her 8-year-old son played with toys underneath the hotel room’s desk as Muse peered out the window, watching rain fly by in sheets.“The power trucks are the only ones above water, and they’re the biggest,” Muse said. “I can’t believe it got so bad. That’s why we came here.”A curfew was imposed in Gulf Shores hours before the storm’s arrival. Florida officials shut down a section of Interstate 10 near Pensacola because of high winds.In Escambia County, Chief Sheriff’s Deputy Chip Simmons vowed to keep deputies out helping residents as long as possible.“The sheriff’s office will be there until we can no longer safely be out there, and then and only then will we pull our deputies in,” Simmons said late Tuesday.This for a storm that, during the weekend, appeared to be headed for New Orleans, about 200 miles to the west.“Obviously this shows what we’ve known for a long time with storms — they are unpredictable,” Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson IV said.National Hurricane Center forecaster Stacy Stewart said the rain will be “catastrophic and life-threatening” over portions of the Gulf Coast.“Sally has a characteristic that isn’t often seen and that’s a slow forward speed, and that’s going to exacerbate the flooding,” said Ed Rappaport, deputy director of the hurricane center.He likened the storm’s plodding pace to that of Hurricane Harvey, which swamped Houston in 2017.Sally’s effects were felt all along the northern Gulf Coast. Low-lying properties in southeastern Louisiana were swamped by the surge. Water covered Mississippi beaches and parts of the highway that runs parallel to them. Two large casino boats broke loose from a dock where they were undergoing construction work in Alabama.In Orange Beach, Alabama, Chris Parks, a tourist from Nashua, New Hampshire, spent the night monitoring the storm and taking care of his infant child as the winds battered his family’s hotel room. Their return flight home was canceled, so they were stuck in Alabama until Friday.“I’m just glad we are together,” Parks said. “The wind is crazy. You can hear solid heavy objects blowing through the air and hitting the building.”As Sally’s outer bands reached the Gulf Coast, Tom Parker, manager of an alligator ranch in Moss Point, Mississippi, hoped he wouldn’t see a repeat of what happened at the gator farm in 2005, when about 250 alligators escaped their enclosures during Hurricane Katrina’s storm surge.President Donald Trump issued emergency declarations for parts of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said on Fox News Channel that Trump was in contact with the states’ governors and ready to help “in every way possible.”Hurricane Laura pummeled southwestern Louisiana on Aug. 27. Thousands of people were still without power from that storm, and some were still in shelters.Meanwhile, far out in the Atlantic Tropical Storm Teddy became a hurricane with winds of 100 mph. It was situated more than 700 miles east of the Lesser Antilles. Forecasters said it was likely to become a major hurricane, reaching Category 4 strength on Thursday.CNN contributed to this report.

Sally was moving across Alabama and the Florida Panhandle on Wednesday as a tropical storm after making landfall but “historic and catastrophic flooding” was still unfolding on its path.

Nearly 12 hours after the crawling cyclone smashed ashore as a Category 2 hurricane, cars were partially submerged, homes and marinas shredded and more than half a million customers had lost power.

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In Escambia County, Florida, which includes Pensacola, at least 377 people have been rescued from flooded neighborhoods, Jason Rogers, the county’s public safety director, told reporters in a news briefing.

“It’s going to be a long time, folks … to come out of this thing,” Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan said earlier Wednesday, warning there could be thousands of evacuations.

In Orange Beach, Alabama, winds blew out walls in one corner of a condominium building, exposing the interiors of condos on at least five floors, video posted online showed. Other images showed buildings with roof damage and stranded boats shoved onshore by storm surge.

At least 50 people in Orange Beach were rescued from flooded homes and taken to shelters, Mayor Tony Kennon said.

“We got a few people that we just haven’t been able to get to because the water is so high,” Kennon said. “But they are safe in their home, as soon as the water recedes, we will rescue them.”

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said the storm’s maximum sustained winds decreased Wednesday night to 35 mph with additional weakening expected as Sally moves inland.

As of 10 p.m. Central time, the storm was centered about 30 miles south-southeast of Montgomery, Alabama, and moving northeast at 9 mph.

Storm makes landfall slowly

Sally lumbered ashore near the Florida-Alabama line as a Category 2 hurricane Wednesday with 105 mph winds and rain measured in feet, not inches, swamping homes and trapping people in high water as it crept inland for what could be a long, slow and disastrous drenching across the Deep South.

Moving at an agonizing 3 mph, or about as fast as a person can walk, the storm made landfall at 4:45 a.m. near Gulf Shores, Alabama, after battering for hours a stretch of coastline that includes Mobile, Alabama, and Pensacola, Florida.

Flash floods pushed water into homes in Alabama and Florida, and officials in Pensacola and surrounding Escambia County, with a combined population of about 320,000, urged residents to stick to text messages for contacting family and friends to keep cellphone service open for 911 calls.

More than 2 feet of rain was recorded near Naval Air Station Pensacola, and nearly 3 feet of water covered streets in downtown Pensacola, the National Weather Service reported.

“It’s not common that you start measuring rainfall in feet,” said National Weather Service forecaster David Eversole in Mobile, Alabama. “Sally’s moving so slowly, so it just keeps pounding and pounding and pounding the area with tropical rain and just powerful winds. It’s just a nightmare.”

Tracking the Tropics

A tree lies on the street as it fell during the Hurricane Sally in Pascagoula, Mississippi on September 16, 2020.

CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images

A tree lies on the street as it fell during the Hurricane Sally in Pascagoula, Mississippi on September 16, 2020.

A flood emergency and over a half million outages

Floodwaters have turned streets into rivers in Pensacola.

The weather service had declared a flash flood emergency for “severe threat to human life & catastrophic damage from a flash flood.”

Power has been knocked out for more than 500,000 customers in Alabama and Florida alone, utility tracker PowerOutage.us reported.

Rainfall totals of 10 to 35 inches are possible from Mobile Bay to Tallahassee, Florida, forecasters said.

Sally came ashore 16 years to the day that a Category 3 Hurricane Ivan struck roughly the same areas.

Sally’s slow forward speed is expected to continue through Wednesday as it moves northeast, taking with it strong winds and more flooding potential.

Parts of Alabama and the Carolinas could see flash flooding, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Mandatory evacuations were ordered for much of the coast and low-lying areas from Mississippi to Florida, and shelters opened to accommodate evacuees.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said “pretty much any body of water in Northwest Florida” could see a rise in levels over the next few days because of Sally.

“There is going to be a lot of a lot of property damage,” DeSantis said in a news briefing Wednesday. “When you see downtown Pensacola, you see three feet of water there, that’s going to affect probably every business that’s in downtown Pensacola — there’s just no two ways about it.”

It was the second hurricane to hit the Gulf Coast in less than three weeks and the latest blow in one of the busiest hurricane seasons ever recorded, so frenetic that forecasters have nearly run through the alphabet of storm names with 2 1/2 months still to go. At the start of the week, Sally was one of a record-tying five storms churning simultaneously in the Atlantic, strung out like charms on a bracelet.

Like the wildfires raging on the West Coast, the onslaught of hurricanes has focused attention on climate change, which scientists say is causing slower, rainier, more powerful and more destructive storms.

Flood waters move on the street, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020, in downtown Pensacola, Fla.

AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

Flood waters move on the street, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020, in downtown Pensacola, Fla.

Street lights were knocked out in downtown Mobile, a city of about 190,000, where a stoplight snapped, swinging wildly on its cable. Trees were bent over as the rain blew sideways in the howling wind. In downtown Pensacola, car alarms went off, the flashing lights illuminating the floodwaters surrounding parked cars.

Before sunrise, water was up to the doors of Jordan Muse’s car outside the Pensacola hotel where her family took shelter after fleeing their mobile home a few miles away. The power failed early in the morning, making it too stuffy to sleep. Her 8-year-old son played with toys underneath the hotel room’s desk as Muse peered out the window, watching rain fly by in sheets.

“The power trucks are the only ones above water, and they’re the biggest,” Muse said. “I can’t believe it got so bad. That’s why we came here.”

Isaias

A curfew was imposed in Gulf Shores hours before the storm’s arrival. Florida officials shut down a section of Interstate 10 near Pensacola because of high winds.

In Escambia County, Chief Sheriff’s Deputy Chip Simmons vowed to keep deputies out helping residents as long as possible.

“The sheriff’s office will be there until we can no longer safely be out there, and then and only then will we pull our deputies in,” Simmons said late Tuesday.

This for a storm that, during the weekend, appeared to be headed for New Orleans, about 200 miles to the west.

“Obviously this shows what we’ve known for a long time with storms — they are unpredictable,” Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson IV said.

National Hurricane Center forecaster Stacy Stewart said the rain will be “catastrophic and life-threatening” over portions of the Gulf Coast.

“Sally has a characteristic that isn’t often seen and that’s a slow forward speed, and that’s going to exacerbate the flooding,” said Ed Rappaport, deputy director of the hurricane center.

He likened the storm’s plodding pace to that of Hurricane Harvey, which swamped Houston in 2017.

Sally’s effects were felt all along the northern Gulf Coast. Low-lying properties in southeastern Louisiana were swamped by the surge. Water covered Mississippi beaches and parts of the highway that runs parallel to them. Two large casino boats broke loose from a dock where they were undergoing construction work in Alabama.

In Orange Beach, Alabama, Chris Parks, a tourist from Nashua, New Hampshire, spent the night monitoring the storm and taking care of his infant child as the winds battered his family’s hotel room. Their return flight home was canceled, so they were stuck in Alabama until Friday.

“I’m just glad we are together,” Parks said. “The wind is crazy. You can hear solid heavy objects blowing through the air and hitting the building.”

As Sally’s outer bands reached the Gulf Coast, Tom Parker, manager of an alligator ranch in Moss Point, Mississippi, hoped he wouldn’t see a repeat of what happened at the gator farm in 2005, when about 250 alligators escaped their enclosures during Hurricane Katrina’s storm surge.

President Donald Trump issued emergency declarations for parts of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said on Fox News Channel that Trump was in contact with the states’ governors and ready to help “in every way possible.”

Hurricane Laura pummeled southwestern Louisiana on Aug. 27. Thousands of people were still without power from that storm, and some were still in shelters.

Meanwhile, far out in the Atlantic Tropical Storm Teddy became a hurricane with winds of 100 mph. It was situated more than 700 miles east of the Lesser Antilles. Forecasters said it was likely to become a major hurricane, reaching Category 4 strength on Thursday.

Tracking the Tropics

TRACKING THE TROPICS

CNN contributed to this report.

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