Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Hurricane Sally Makes Landfall Slowly With 'Life-Threatening' Flooding Expected

Climate
Hurricane Sally Makes Landfall Slowly With 'Life-Threatening' Flooding Expected
A road floods as the outer bands of Hurricane Sally come ashore on Sept. 15, 2020 in Gulf Shores, Alabama. Joe Raedle / Getty Images

The Florida panhandle, the Alabama coast and Mississippi are seeing Hurricane Sally batter its shores Wednesday morning as the slow-moving hurricane starts to make landfall. The storm intensified overnight as it churned slowly over the Gulf of Mexico. It's expected to be a Category 2 storm when it fully makes landfall Wednesday during the mid-morning hours from 8 a.m. to noon, according to AccuWeather.


Even though the center of the storm stayed offshore over night, the effects of Hurricane Sally were being felt. Some locations along the Gulf Coast have already received 20 inches of rain and the National Weather Service (NWS) in Mobile, Alabama warned that amount could double, considering how quickly the rain has already come down, as ABC News reported.

"These warnings are issued for exceedingly rare situations when a severe threat to human life and catastrophic damage from a flash flood is happening," the NWS said in a statement Wednesday morning. "This is a life-threatening situation. Seek higher ground now."

Early Wednesday morning, flash flooding inundated roads in the southeast corner of Alabama and the western part of Alabama. According to poweroutage.us, nearly 300,000 homes have already lost power, as The Weather Channel reported.

On Tuesday night, the slow moving hurricane was chugging toward land at just 2 mph. The slow pace meant areas of the Gulf Coast were feeling 70 mph winds and receiving rain from the outer portion of the hurricane, according to CNN. As Sally approached landfall early Wednesday morning, some areas registered winds peaking at 105 mph, according to AccuWeather.

To prepare for the storm and the possibility of water main breaks that would exacerbate the flooding or release sewage, the Escambia County Utilities Authority in Pensacola, Florida shut off the water system around 11:00 pm Tuesday night since the storm surge and the rising tides overwhelmed the sewer system, according to CNN.

Due to the storm's slow movement, the National Weather Service predicts that the relentless wind and rains will last for most of the day on Wednesday, as The Washington Post reported. That slow pace means the area could see 30 inches or more of rain on Wednesday alone.

The stalling of storms has been notably costly recently. Last year, Hurricane Dorian stalled over Bermuda and caused widespread destruction from its relentless rains and wind. And, in 2017, Hurricane Harvey was no longer a hurricane when it stalled over Houston and dropped more than 4 feet of rain, according to The New York Times.

"Our work indicates that climate change is favoring this phenomenon," said Michael E. Mann, a climate scientist at Penn State, in an email message to The New York Times. "It likely plays a role in the decreased translation speed of landfalling hurricanes."

Mann and his colleagues have found that Arctic warming is affecting the jet stream and not only causing hurricanes to stall, but also locking air in place to cause heat waves and other extreme weather, as The New York Times reported.

While Hurricane Sally has stalled near the Gulf Coast, it is not predicted to affect the areas that were hardest hit by Hurricane Laura several weeks ago. On Tuesday, the National Hurricane Center dropped its hurricane and tropical storm warning for New Orleans and the Lake Pontchartrain as Sally is too far east to hit those parts of Louisiana, according to AccuWeather.

A crowd of climate activists march behind a banner in NYC during Climate Week on September 20, 2020. Erik McGregor / LightRocket / Getty Images

By Breanna Draxler

After decades on the political periphery, the climate movement is entering the mainstream in 2020, with young leaders at the fore. The Sunrise Movement now includes more than 400 local groups educating and advocating for political action on climate change. Countless students around the world have clearly communicated what's at stake for their futures, notably Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, who just finished her yearlong school strike for climate. Youth activists have been praised for their flexible, big-picture thinking and ability to harness social media to deliver political wins, as Sunrise recently did for U.S. Sen. Ed Markey's primary campaign. They necessarily challenge the status quo.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Presidential nominee Joe Biden has not taken a stance on gas exports, including liquefied natural gas. Ken Hodge / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 2.0

By Simon Montlake

For more than a decade, Susan Jane Brown has been battling to stop a natural gas pipeline and export terminal from being built in the backcountry of Oregon. As an attorney at the nonprofit Western Environmental Law Center, she has repeatedly argued that the project's environmental, social, and health costs are too high.

All that was before this month's deadly wildfires in Oregon shrouded the skies above her home office in Portland. "It puts a fine point on it. These fossil fuel projects are contributing to global climate change," she says.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Eating lots of fruits and vegetables will boost the immune system. Stevens Fremont / The Image Bank / Getty Images

By Grayson Jaggers

The connection between the pandemic and our dietary habits is undeniable. The stress of isolation coupled with a struggling economy has caused many of us to seek comfort with our old friends: Big Mac, Tom Collins, Ben and Jerry. But overindulging in this kind of food and drink might not just be affecting your waistline, but could potentially put you at greater risk of illness by hindering your immune system.

Read More Show Less
A graphic shows how Rhoel Dinglasan's smartphone-based saliva test works. University of Florida

As the world continues to navigate the line between reopening and maintaining safety protocols to slow the spread of the coronavirus, rapid and accurate diagnostic screening remains critical to control the outbreak. New mobile-phone-based, self-administered COVID-19 tests being developed independently around the world could be a key breakthrough in making testing more widely available, especially in developing nations.

Read More Show Less
A meteorologist monitors weather in NOAA's Center for Weather and Climate Prediction on July 2, 2013 in Riverdale, Maryland. Mark Wilson / Getty Images

The Trump White House is now set to appoint two climate deniers to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in one month.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch