Forecasters are warning that Hurricane Sally will create catastrophic and life-threatening floods as it moves over parts of the U.S. Gulf Coast Wednesday.
The National Hurricane Center says the powerful storm made landfall early Wednesday morning near the coastal town of Gulf Shores, Alabama, carrying maximum sustained winds of 165 kilometers an hour, making it a Category 2 storm on the five-tiered scale that measures a storm’s potential destructiveness.
NHC has issued a hurricane warning for residents from the Mississippi-Alabama border to parts of the so-called "Panhandle" region of northern Florida as Hurricane Sally turns northeastward. Forecasters say the region will experience huge rainfall totals of 20 to 30 centimeters throughout the day, with isolated areas expected to get as much as 88 centimeters, triggering "historic and catastrophic flooding."
Heavy rains are also expected as far north into parts of Virginia and North and South Carolina.
Hurricane Sally may also lead to tornadoes throughout the day into Wednesday night across portions of the Florida Panhandle, southern Alabama and southwestern Georgia.
President Donald Trump issued emergency declarations Monday for parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, and he tweeted that residents should listen to state and local leaders.