Hurricane Sally Now a Category 2 Storm Taking Aim at Gulf Coast States

Hurricane Sally
This image from the 4 p.m. advisory shows where Hurricane Sally is projected to make landfall. Photo courtesy of National Hurricane Center

Hurricane Sally became a Category 2 storm Monday afternoon as it continues churning toward the Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama coastlines. The National Hurricane Center's 4 p.m. CT advisory stated that Sally now has wind speeds of 100 mph.

The storm has slowly moved over the last 18 hours, meandering in the north central Gulf of Mexico and dumping massive amounts of rain in its path. The Weather Channel said Hurricane Sally could bring a "life-threatening" storm surge to those coastal states.

"Hurricane #Sally is forecast to bring life-threatening flash flooding and storm surge to parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. Here's a closer look at what's expected," TWC tweeted.

Hurricane #Sally is forecast to bring life-threatening flash flooding and storm surge to parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. Here's a closer look at what's expected.

— The Weather Channel (@weatherchannel) September 14, 2020

The National Hurricane Center stated that, in addition to life-threatening flooding, the region should prepare for hurricane force winds and flash flooding starting Monday night and lasting well into Tuesday, when the storm is expected to make landfall.

Sally worked its way across South Florida and the Florida Keys on Saturday and Sunday, and then moved into the Gulf of Mexico, where it went from a tropical storm Monday morning into a Category 1 storm. The storm has intensified throughout Monday, and wind speeds are expected to keep increasing over the next 8-12 hours.

The storm has already produced heavy rains in Florida, with up to 12 inches in some places. On Sunday afternoon, then-Tropical Storm Sally spawned rotations that led to tornado warnings along the Southwest Florida coast, with Sanibel Island and Pine Island in particular.

Sally first appeared to be heading toward south Louisiana, but it made an eastward turn Monday afternoon. There are hurricane warnings from southeast Louisiana all the way east to the Florida panhandle. The storm's heaviest rainfall is expected to be on the east side of the eye wall.

The projected cone path is that once it hits land, it's expected to make a sharp turn to the east and travel northeast through Alabama and then into Georgia and the Carolinas.

The 2020 hurricane season has been the busiest in recorded history. And right now, there are five named storms — the first time this has happened in 50 years. The storms are:

Hurricane Paulette
Remnants of Rene
Hurricane Sally
Tropical Storm Teddy
Tropical Storm Vicky

There are two more systems—one in the Gulf of Mexico and the other off the west coast of Africa—that have potential to become named storms. There is only one other prepared named storm in the 2020 Atlantic season. Should "Wilfred" be the next storm, then the names of the following storms would take on the Greek alphabet, starting with: Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta.