Hurricane Sally intensified to a Category 2 storm on Monday evening, said forecasters from the National Hurricane Center, as more local authorities across the Gulf Coast ordered people to evacuate.
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, and Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards have all declared emergencies in their respective states.
President Donald Trump has approved disaster declarations for Louisiana and Mississippi.
A news release from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said that the declaration authorizes the agency to coordinate disaster relief efforts and provide emergency assistance to hurricane-impacted areas.
Baldwin County Emergency Operations Center is recommending for residents and visitors in Zones 1 and 2 to evacuate. pic.twitter.com/RR4iKzxpF9
— Baldwin County Emergency Management Agency (@BaldwinEMA) September 14, 2020
Mandatory evacuation orders were issued in Lousiana for Orleans Parish, Jefferson Parish, Plaquemines Parish, St. Charles Parish, St. John the Baptist Parish, and Hancock County in Mississippi. The town of Grand Isle, Louisiana, also issued a mandatory evacuation.
In Alabama, officials are recommending evacuations in areas of Baldwin County and near Mobile Bay.
As of Monday, Sally is continuing to strengthen in the Gulf of Mexico while on a forecast track that will most likely hit just east of southeastern Louisiana, making landfall near the Mississippi-Alabama border.
The hurricane currently has 100-mph winds and heavy storm surge. Some forecasters have said the storm could produce upwards of 20 inches of rain in some areas.
Dauphin Island Mayor told AP on Monday that several cars have been lost to the quickly rising waters due to storm surge.
“We weren’t able to move the vehicles, they were already stuck in the sand,” he said, reported AP.
According to the National Hurricane Center’s latest update, the outer rain bands of Sally are currently impacting the Florida Panhandle and the storm is about 100 miles east of the mouth of the Mississipi River. The storm is moving slowly at 5 mph to the west-northwest.
A storm surge warning is in effect for Port Fourchon, Louisiana, to the Okaloosa-Walton County line, Florida—as well as Mobile Bay, Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Maurepas, and Lake Borgne. A hurricane warning is in effect from Morgan City, Louisiana, to Navarre, Florida.
Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Maurepas, including metropolitan New Orleans, are also under a hurricane warning.