Hurricane Sally is moving rapidly towards the coast of the United States along the Gulf of Mexico. The governors of four states have called on residents of coastal towns to seek refuge. Floods, prolonged rainfall and strong winds are feared.
Sally is expected to arrive ashore on Tuesday night or Wednesday morning (local time) off the coast of the states of Alabama, Florida and Mississippi. The National Hurricane Centre (NHC) in Miami already anticipates a storm surge of 2 meters in some places. The slow pace of the hurricane towards land is reminiscent of Hurricane Harvey, which caused a lot of damage in the area around the Texan city of Houston in 2017.
The NHC predicts more than 600 millimetres of rain in some places and “extremely life-threatening flooding“ on Wednesday. Wind speeds have dropped to 140 kilometres per hour and the hurricane is moving at about 3.2 kilometres per hour.
It is estimated that around 11,000 houses in Alabama and Mississippi are at risk of flooding. The governors of Louisiana and Florida have warned residents of low-lying areas. There are already floods in some places in Alabama and Mississippi.
President Donald Trump has declared a state of emergency for the states of Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana, making it easier to provide emergency aid. Ports, schools and businesses along the entire Gulf Coast are closed. Energy companies have shut down oil refineries and evacuated their gas and oil platform workers.