Weakened to a Category 1 storm and very slowly headed to Mobile Bay, Hurricane Sally is expected to bring flooding to the area as it is expected to make landfall Wednesday morning.
Local and state officials on Tuesday morning urged residents in low-lying areas or mobile homes to evacuate before the worst impacts of the storm arrive.
At a press conference with Gov. Kay Ivey, the National Weather Service’s John De Block said Sally is a slow moving storm and the track has shifted a bit east since Monday’s updates. Rain, wind and storm surge are still a concern, even though the storm has weakened.
“As of 10 o’clock, Sally was about 110 miles south of Mobile drifting to the north at the speed of a child in a candy shop — about two to three miles per hour,” De Block said. “We’re looking at it making landfall tomorrow morning now, a little later than we had been talking about earlier. We’re expecting winds about 70 knots or 80 miles per hour when Sally makes landfall tomorrow, and right now the projected path is right up Mobile Bay. If this forecast continues to shift to the east — at it very well may — that will decrease the amount of storm surge that is encountered in Mobile Bay, which will be good news.”
Mobile County Sheriff Sam Cochran urged locals to leave if they didn’t feel safe because it was better to evacuate than put the lives of law enforcement and first responders at risk.
“We’re urging you to evacuate, especially those in south Mobile County, or those close to a river, stream or creek,” Cochran said. “We don’t want to put people at risk. You have an extra 24 hours to get out.”
Mobile County Emergency Management Deputy Director Mike Evans echoed comments he made on Monday, talking again about the uncertainty that remains with Sally. With uncertainty comes a potential for danger, he said.
“Is there uncertainty? Absolutely,” Evans said. “Is the storm changing? It seems to be changing by the hour. Each change could mean harsher conditions for us, or they could go the other way, but we’re not going to talk about that right now.”
Mobile and Baldwin counties remain under a hurricane warning, a storm surge warning and a flash flood watch.
“Our colleagues at the National Weather Service believe severe weather is on the cusp of getting here,” he said.
The county’s two shelters remain open. The general shelter is located at Theodore High School, while a special needs shelter is open at Burns Middle School. Due to COVID-19 protocols, the Theodore shelter has a capacity of about 250, Evans said. The building is not currently near capacity, but if it gets closer to filling up, Evans said, the county has a shelter on stand-by.
For those riding out the storm, Evans said to make sure there is food, water and battery-powered electronics for up to 72 hours. He also warned residents to be safe with generators.
“There’s time to get ready, and there’s no time like right now,” Evans said. “If you feel unsafe, get to somewhere safe.”
Jason Johnson contributed to this report.
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