(Mobile) Submerged Roads and Power Outages: The state of Alabama and northwest Florida were swept away by Hurricane Sally’s rains on Wednesday, which caused “catastrophic” flooding.
Posted on Sep 16, 2020 at 6:31 am Updated at 10:04 am
Gianrigo MARLETTA with Lucie AUBOURG in Washington
France Media Agency
In total, more than 500,000 households in these two states had no electricity on Wednesday morning, according to the poweroutage.com website.
Sally landed at 4:45 a.m. (5:45 a.m. CET) in Gulf Shores, a small town in the state of Alabama. He was then in Category 2 and has since been downgraded to Category 1.
The winds carried by the storm have calmed down and now reach 80 km / h with gusts of almost 130 km / h. It moves slowly (less than 10 km / h), which means that it rains continuously over the same areas for an extended period of time, amplifying the rising water.
“Catastrophic and historic floods are afoot,” warned the National Hurricane Center (NHC).
Early in the morning, the streets of the city of Pensacola and its 50,000 residents in far northwest Florida were turned into streams after numerous videos posted on social networks.
The passage of the hurricane was “devastating,” said David Morgan, sheriff of Escambia County, where Pensacola is located, at a news conference Wednesday morning. “We anticipate evacuations that will number in the thousands,” he warned when they are possible.
The situation “is bad,” he said, reporting that part of a bridge in the city has likely collapsed. “It will take a considerable amount of time to clean it up.”
Relief efforts were under way and shelters were opened, but authorities urged people to stay safe in their homes if possible.
“Extremely dangerous situation”
About 40 miles away in Alabama, the marina in the coastal town of Orange Beach was shown being cleaned up with pleasure boats being blown by the wind to the docks amid rubble.
The authorities in Baldwin County, where Orange Beach is located, warned Wednesday morning of an “extremely dangerous situation” with “serious and extensive damage”.
The hurricane also caused significant damage to the nearby town of Mobile, where windows were broken and the streets were strewn with branches.
“There are many areas with historic floods,” Alabama Governor Kay Ivey said Wednesday morning, where a state of emergency was declared on Monday.
Mississippi had done the same, but the hurricane eventually hit further east.
At a sanctuary in Pascagoula, a coastal town in Mississippi, 50-year-old Clinton Shepherd spent the night “hoping and praying” that the storm wasn’t devastating. “That’s all we can do.”
At 12 p.m. local time (1 p.m. ET), the eye of the hurricane was 30 kilometers from Pensacola.
Sally will travel through northwest Florida until Thursday morning before arriving in central Georgia on Thursday afternoon, the National Hurricane Center said.
The storm is expected to continue to weaken during the day and night as it moves inland.
As the surface of the oceans warms, hurricanes are getting stronger, according to scientists who predict an increase in the proportion of Category 4 and 5 cyclones.
Paulette, René, Teddy and Vicky: With Sally, no fewer than five storms broke out simultaneously across the Atlantic at the beginning of September, a record since 1971.
This year there have been so many tropical storms in that ocean that the UN that names them is on the verge of running out of names for the second time in history.
The US meteorological services had predicted that the Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30, would be extremely “active” with seven to eleven hurricanes.