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HURRICANE SALLY: WHAT WE KNOW SO FAR

Staff Report

HOLMES AND WASHINGTON COUNTIES: As Hurricane Sally continues to shift Eastward and move into the coast storm trackers and meteorologists are predicting massive rainfall and storm surges for much of the Florida Panhandle. 

Here is what we know as so far, according to information from the National Hurricane Center:

RAINFALL:

Sally is forecast to produce 10 to 20 inches of rainfall with isolated amounts of 30 inches along and just inland of the central Gulf Coast from the Florida Panhandle west of the Apalachicola River to the Alabama/Mississippi border. Historic, life-threatening flash flooding is likely. In addition, this rainfall will lead to widespread moderate to major flooding on area rivers. Sally is forecast to turn inland Wednesday and track across the Southeast producing rainfall of 4 to 8 inches, with isolated maximum amounts of 12 inches, across portions of southeastern Mississippi, southern and central Alabama, central and northern Georgia, and the western Carolinas. Significant flash and urban flooding is likely, as well as widespread minor to moderate flooding on some rivers.

STORM SURGE:

NHC said the combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline. 

"Water could reach the following heights above ground somewhere in the indicated areas if the peak surge occurs at the time of high tide," NHC said. 

The following is a breakdown of areas included in the storm surge watch 

  • Dauphin Island AL to Okaloosa/Walton County FL Line...4-6 ft
  • Pensacola Bay and Choctawhatchee Bay FL...4-6 ft
  • Mobile Bay...3-5 ft
  • Okaloosa/Walton County Line to Walton/Bay County line FL...2-4 ft
  • Mouth of the Mississippi River to Mouth of the Pearl River including Lakes Pontchartrain, Maurepas and Borgne...2-4 ft
  • MS/AL Border to Dauphin Island AL...2-4 ft
  • Walton/Bay County line to Chassahowitzka FL including Saint Andrew Bay...1-3 ft
  • Mouth of the Pearl River to MS/AL Border...1-3 ft

The deepest water will occur along the immediate coast in areas of onshore winds, where the surge will be accompanied by large and damaging waves. Surge-related flooding depends on the relative timing of the surge and the tidal cycle, and can vary greatly over short distances. For information specific to your area, please see products issued by your local National Weather Service forecast office.

WIND:

Hurricane conditions are expected to begin within the hurricane warning area later tonight. Tropical storm conditions are already occurring in portions of the warning areas, and will continue through Wednesday night.

TORNADOES:

A few tornadoes may occur through Wednesday across portions of the Florida Panhandle and southern Alabama. 

SURF:

Swells from Sally will continue to affect the coast from the Florida Big Bend westward to southeastern Louisiana during the next couple of days. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions. Please consult products from your local weather office.