Hurricane Sally made landfall in Alabama as a Category 2 storm early Wednesday, bringing with it 100 mph winds, flash flooding, and leaving more than 400,000 homes and businesses without power, according to reports.
The storm hit land near Gulf Shores, Ala., at 4:45 a.m. CDT with maximum sustained winds of 105 mph, The Weather Channel reported.
It is currently spinning north-northeast at about 3 mph with maximum sustained winds near 100 mph and is expected to speed up slightly as the day goes on, according to the National Hurricane Center. While the storm is forecasted to weaken as it moves further inland on Wednesday, hurricane-force winds are currently extending outward up to 40 miles.
Hurricane Sally’s center is then forecasted to “move across the extreme western Florida panhandle and southeastern Alabama through early Thursday” before eventually moving onto Georgia Thursday afternoon, the NHC noted.
Currently, heavy rain and strong winds are battering areas of the northern Gulf Coast, according to TWC. Flash flooding has also been a major concern from southeastern Alabama into the western Florida Panhandle with the National Weather Service issuing a Flash Flood Warning until Wednesday afternoon.
So far, the highest measured rainfall totals were recorded at the Pensacola Naval Air Station, which saw just over 24 inches, according to TWC. But the rain is expected to continue, and the NHC noted isolated amounts of 35 inches were expected.
“Historic and catastrophic flooding is unfolding,” the NHC wrote. “In addition, this rainfall will lead to widespread moderate to major river flooding.”
Sally first started as a tropical depression on Friday afternoon, making landfall in south Florida early Saturday morning before strengthening into a tropical storm as it moved out over the Gulf of Mexico, according to TWC. From there, it continued to strengthen until it became a hurricane.
Hurricane Sally made history as one of five tropical cyclones that were actively spinning in the Atlantic at the same moment for only the second time ever. It also comes just weeks after Hurricane Laura slammed the Gulf Coast as a punishing high-end Category 4 storm.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she’s not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.
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