Hurricane Sally is still over the open Gulf waters tonight, and she is still strengthening as a result. According to the latest forecast from the National Hurricane Center, she is set to slam either the Alabama or Mississippi by 7 am Wednesday. Since she is slow-moving, she will have more time to strengthen, and possibly become a Category 3 hurricane. It is not known whether or not she will be a Cat 3 at landfall, as the NHC has her weakening slightly just before landfall.
According to the official forecast:
FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS INIT 15/0300Z 28.9N 87.6W 85 KT 100 MPH 12H 15/1200Z 29.1N 88.1W 95 KT 110 MPH 24H 16/0000Z 29.6N 88.4W 90 KT 105 MPH 36H 16/1200Z 30.4N 88.3W 85 KT 100 MPH...INLAND 48H 17/0000Z 31.3N 87.4W 50 KT 60 MPH...INLAND 60H 17/1200Z 32.0N 86.3W 30 KT 35 MPH...INLAND 72H 18/0000Z 32.7N 84.9W 25 KT 30 MPH...INLAND 96H 19/0000Z 33.1N 82.3W 25 KT 30 MPH...POST-TROP/REMNT LOW 120H 20/0000Z...DISSIPATED
It only takes 111 mph to make a major Category 3 hurricane, and the NHC above has the wind speeds at 110 mph which is a maximum Category 2 hurricane. However, before landfall the official forecast calls for it to remain a Category 2 storm.
Residents along the Alabama and Mississippi coastline need to prepare for a Category 2 or 3 hurricane, since rapid intensification is not off the table. There is the potential that this storm could be slightly stronger at landfall. A major hurricane making landfall would cause widespread devastation, as well as inland flooding.
Very heavy rains are expected as this storm moves inland and makes a turn to the east. Afterward, Sally will weaken to a depression and will transition into an extratropical low.
Later this week the remnants are expected to cause heavy rain for the Carolinas before being swept out to sea by a strong cold front. After the front moves through, the Carolinas can expect to see a very nice fall-like weekend with nighttime lows in the 50s along with a wood fire smell in the air.
Stay safe, and stay with us!