By | Been Written
Contributing Writer | Telegraph Local
The storm system named Sally has strengthened to a category 2 hurricane according to the National Weather Service. Currently, the system is sustaining top winds of around 85 mph.
CNBC reports that storm-weary Gulf Coast residents rushed to finish last-minute preparations Monday as Hurricane Sally chugged slowly through warm Gulf waters. Forecasters said the biggest threat is flooding, with as much as two feet of rain falling in some areas.
Sally is expected to reach the shore by early Tuesday, but The National Hurricane Center said it was too early to tell exactly where Sally would come ashore because it’s still not known when it would take a turn to the north.
Due to its slow forward speed as it approaches the coast, heavy rains will deluge areas from southeast Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle with excessive rainfall, up to two feet in some areas, says the Washington Post.
What Is A Hurricane?
The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says that hurricanes start off as a tropical cyclone, which is a rotating low-pressure weather system that has organized thunderstorms but no fronts (a boundary separating two air masses of different densities).
When a storm’s maximum sustained winds reach 74 mph, it is called a hurricane. The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale is a 1 to 5 rating, or category, based on a hurricane’s maximum sustained winds. The higher the category, the greater the hurricane’s potential for property damage.
Hurricanes originate in the Atlantic basin, which includes the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico, the eastern North Pacific Ocean, and, less frequently, the central North Pacific Ocean.
Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves said he has signed a state of emergency as Tropical Storm Sally threatens parts of the state.
Reeves said some mandatory evacuations could begin Monday in low-lying areas of south Mississippi. He advised residents at risk to think about evacuating Monday morning rather than waiting until Monday night or Tuesday morning, according to WAPT News.
“Predictions for Sally are getting more and more serious,” Gov. Tate Reeves said Monday, ahead of a briefing with Mississippi emergency officials. Reeves issued a state of emergency Sunday.
Weather forecasters are expecting a storm surge of up to 11 feet for parts of the Gulf Coast and up to 16 inches of rainfall. Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana have all declared a state of emergency.
CBS News reports that ‘More than 17 million people are in the path of the Category 2 hurricane. Hundreds of miles of coastline are under storm watches and warnings. There’s a possibility that Sally will turn into a major Category 3 storm with maximum sustained winds of at least 111 mph before it makes landfall Tuesday afternoon.’