Hurricane Sally has reached the south of the United States. Since this morning, the storm has been travelling locally through the urban areas of Mobile, Alabama and Pensacola in Florida, which together have a population of nearly 1 million.
Because the storm is moving very slowly, at a speed of just under 5 kilometres per hour, rain showers remain hanging over the same area for a long time. This causes a great deal of flooding.
According to the deputy director of the National Hurricane Center, it is not often that a hurricane moves so slowly. Sally is a second category hurricane; in the eye the wind reaches speeds of almost 170 km per hour.
A tree in flight
Houses are flooded and people are trapped by the water. Rescue workers have already saved dozens of people, including a family of four who had taken refuge in a tree. Some people could not reach the rescue services because of the high tide, but the residents would be safe in their own homes. They will be picked up as soon as the water retreats.
Local authorities fear that thousands of people will have to flee from the water in the next few days. Whole villages will have to be evacuated, they think. In some regions more than a metre of rain has fallen.
As a result of the storm, part of a bridge on an important connecting road, the Three Mile Bridge over Pensacola Bay, collapsed. Approximately half a million households and businesses are also without electricity.
President Trump declared a state of emergency for Louisiana and Mississippi before the storm landed.
Five tropical storms are now raging over the Atlantic at the same time. Sally is the second hurricane within three weeks over the Gulf Coast in the south of the US. There have been so many hurricanes this hurricane season that the authorities have almost run out of names, while the season is still about two and a half months away.