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article imageHurricane Sally leaves downtown Pensacola, Florida underwater

By Karen Graham     Sep 16, 2020 in Environment
Hurricane Sally slammed ashore between Mobile, Alabama and Pensacola, Florida as a Category 2 storm, dumping rain measured in feet, not inches, and turning streets into rivers, and trapping people in homes.
Over a quarter-million customers are without power in the wake of Sally's fury, as the storm moves agonizingly slow on its trek inland. Sally is the second hurricane to hit the Gulf Coast in less than three weeks - and is "every bit as bad as predicted," according to the Pensacola News Journal,
"We anticipate the evacuations could literally be in the thousands," David Morgan, sheriff of Florida's Escambia County which includes Pensacola, said of rescuing people in flooded neighborhoods. Water rescues are also ongoing in Gulf Shores, Alabama, where homes flooded and trees toppled onto roofs, city spokesman Grant Brown said, according to CNN.
A section of Pensacola's Three-Mile Bridge that connects to the city of Gulf Breeze is missing, thanks to the storm, Morgan said. "It's going to be a long time, folks, ... to come out of this thing," the sheriff said.
Today, nearly three feet of water covers the streets of downtown Pensacaola after enduring hours of rain before and after Hurricane Sally made landfall early Wednesday. According to the National Weather Service, over 18 inches of rain had fallen by 1am this morning.
Before 2am, the police department noted road issues were "too numerous to list." Escambia County authorities were undertaking water rescues in the Bristol Park area as of 9:15am.
"It's just a nightmare," says David Eversole, a National Weather Service forecaster in Mobile, Ala., which has also been hit hard. "It just keeps pounding and pounding and pounding the area with tropical rain and just powerful winds."
"Sally has a characteristic that isn’t often seen and that’s a slow forward speed, and that’s going to exacerbate the flooding,” said Ed Rappaport, deputy director of the hurricane center. He likened the storm's plodding pace to that of Hurricane Harvey, which inundated Houston in 2017.
Meanwhile, far out in the Atlantic, Teddy became a hurricane Wednesday with winds of 100 mph (160 kph), according to the National Hurricane Center. Forecasters said it could reach Category 4 strength before closing in on Bermuda
More about Hurricane Sally, category 2, pensacola florida, Wind power, flooding rain
 
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