Thu | Oct 1, 2020

Hurricane Sally unleashes flooding along the Gulf Coast

Published:Wednesday | September 16, 2020 | 9:22 AM
Floodwaters move on the street, Wednesday, September 16, 2020, in downtown Pensacola, Flordia. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

PENSACOLA, Florida (AP) — Hurricane Sally lumbered ashore in Alabama with 105 miles per hour winds and torrential rain Wednesday, swamping homes and trapping people in high water along the Gulf Coast as it crept inland for what could be a long, slow and disastrous drenching across the Deep South.

Moving at an agonising three miles per hour, or about as fast as a person can walk, the storm made landfall at 4:45 a.m. near Gulf Shores after raking the coast for hours from Pensacola Beach, Florida, westward to Dauphin Island, Alabama.

Emergency officials in Alabama and Florida reported flash floods that pushed water into homes.

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

“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.”

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.

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