At least person has died and one is missing after Hurricane Sally made its way inland after making landfall as a Category 2 hurricane near Gulf Shores, Alabama, on 16 September 2020.
The storm dumped almost 30 inches (762 mm) of rain in Orange Beach, Alabama, and 24.80 inches (630 mm) in Pensacola, Florida in a 72 hour period, according to National Weather Service (NWS).
The torrential rain has increased river levels in the area, which are likely to remain high for some time. As of 18 September, rivers were above Moderate Flood Stage in 9 locations in southern Alabama and western Florida Panhandle. Media reported severe flooding from the overflowing Fish and Perdido rivers.
The Shoal River near Crestview in Florida reached 16.42 feet on 17 September 2020, well above Major Flood Stage of 15 feet and the second highest crest on record behind the 21.40 feet from September 1998.
NWS Mobile warned that “river flooding will persist through at least this weekend for portions of southwest/south-central Alabama and the western Florida Panhandle.”
Flood and Storm Damage
Officials in Orange Beach, Alabama, said one person had died and another was missing as a result of the storm. Emergency crews were called on to rescue or evacuate hundreds of people along the Gulf Coast, in particular in Escambia County, which includes Pensacola, Florida.
Almost 500,000 homes and businesses are without power in Alabama and Florida. Strong winds, storm surge and flooding have damaged roads, bridges and other infrastructure.
Sally has weakened into a tropical depression and is forecast to weaken further as it moves over Georgia and the Carolinas.
— Mark Sudduth (@hurricanetrack) September 17, 2020
— Ed Bloodsworth (@WKRGEd) September 17, 2020
Sally produced copious amounts of rainfall across the Southeast. Here are some selected preliminary rainfall totals from Alabama and Florida. @NWSMobile @NWSTallahassee @NWSBirmingham pic.twitter.com/g0zlXAzLHQ
— NWS Weather Prediction Center (@NWSWPC) September 17, 2020