Tuesday 27 October, 2020

TS Sally approaching Gulf Coast, life-threatening surges expected

The outer rain bands of Tropical Storm Sally is approaching the northern Gulf Coast and is expected to produce life-threatening storm surge, hurricane-force winds and flash flooding starting today.

Advisories have been issued for a number of areas.

 A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for
* Port Fourchon Louisiana to the Alabama/Florida State Line
* Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Maurepas, and Lake Borgne
* Mobile Bay

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for
* Morgan City Louisiana to the Mississippi/Alabama State LIne, as well as Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Maurepas including metropolitan NewnOrleans

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for
* Mississippi/Alabama State Liner to Indian Pass Florida
* Intracoastal City Louisiana to the west of Morgan City

A Hurricane Watch is in effect for
* Mississippi/Alabama State Line to the Alabama/Florida State Line
*** A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for...
* Indian Pass to Ochlockonee River Florida

Hurricane conditions are expected within the hurricane warning area starting late today. 

Tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area during the next few hours and are expected within the warning area beginning this morning. Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion. 

A tornado or two may occur this afternoon through Tuesday over coastal areas of the Florida Panhandle, Mississippi, Alabama, and extreme southeastern Louisiana.

At 4am CDT, the centre of Tropical Storm Sally was located about 120 miles (195 km) east-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River. 

Sally is moving toward the west-northwest near 9 mph (15 km/h). 

This general motion is expected today, followed by a decrease in forwarding speed and a turn to the northwest tonight and a northward turn sometime on Tuesday. 

On the forecast track, the centre of Sally will move over the north-central Gulf of Mexico today, and approach southeastern Louisiana this afternoon, and make landfall in the hurricane warning area on Tuesday. 

Afterwards, Sally is expected to move slowly north-northeastward near the northern Gulf Coast through Wednesday.

Maximum sustained winds are near 60 mph (95 km/h) with higher gusts. 

Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 125 miles (205 km) from the centre. Strengthening is expected during the next day or so, and Sally is forecast to become a hurricane by tonight, with additional strengthening possible before the centre crosses the northern Gulf Coast.

The combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline. 

Overtopping of local levees outside of the Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System is possible where local inundation values may be higher than those shown above.

Sally is expected to be a slow-moving system as it approaches land producing 8 to 16 inches of rainfall with isolated amounts of 24 inches over portions of the central Gulf Coast from the western Florida Panhandle to far southeast Louisiana through the middle of the week. Life-threatening flash flooding is possible. 

The National Hurricane Centre warned that this rainfall will likely lead to widespread minor to isolated major flooding on area rivers.

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