Hurricane Sally predicted to be dangerous and historical

Published 7:06 pm Monday, September 14, 2020

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According to the Covington County Emergency Management Agency and the Mobile Weather Forecast Office, Hurricane Sally is dangerous and will cause a potentially historic flooding event.

The tropical storm wind probabilities have increased significantly, according to the National Weather Service and shows Covington County at 72 percent. Escambia County is showing a 84 percent chance of tropical storm winds.

The chance for Covington County to see strong storm force winds (58-73 mph,) is 20 percent.

“The chance for seeing strong tropical storm force winds (58-73mph) has also significantly increased,” EMA director Susan Harris said. “There is now an 7 in 10 to 8 in 10 probability of strong tropical storm force winds in portions of southeast Mississippi and coastal Alabama. Further east across south central Alabama into the portions of the western Florida Panhandle there is a 2 in 10 probability of tropical storm force winds.”

The rainfall potential for Covington County is four to six inches.

“Rainfall totals of 10-20” with localized amounts of 25” are possible across southeast Mississippi and coastal Alabama and northwest Florida,” Harris said. “Further inland, rainfall totals of 6-10” with locally 10-20” are possible. These values will continue to be updated and adjusted with corresponding storm track changes. Flash Flood Watch in effect Monday morning through early Thursday morning all of northwest Florida, all of southwest and south central Alabama, and all of interior southeast Mississippi. Heaviest rain totals and greatest flooding potential will be Tuesday and Wednesday.”

As a result of the hurricane, early Monday morning Gov. Kay Ivey closed all of the Alabama beaches.

“We must give individuals time to prepare for the anticipated impacts of this storm,” Ivey said. “Through a supplemental state of emergency declaration, I am closing all Alabama beaches effective today at 3:00 p.m. and recommending an evacuation, especially of non-residents, and those living in flood-prone areas south of I-10. Alabamians are no stranger to tropical weather and the significant damage these storms can do, even though our state is not currently in the direct line of impact. Locals will need to prepare their homes, businesses and personal property for imminent storm surge, heavy rain and flash flooding. I urge everyone to tune in to their trusted weather source, and pay attention to your local officials for updates regarding your area as they make further recommendations based off the unique needs of your community. I am staying engaged with our emergency response team at the state level as well as our local officials in Mobile and Baldwin counties, and we will be providing assistance wherever needed. I ask everyone to use their best judgment and practice personal responsibility to ensure safety of themselves, their families and our first responders. Stay weather aware!”

LBW Community College closed all of their campuses and canceled classes due to Hurricane Sally.

“LBWCC will be closed Tuesday, September 15, and Wednesday, September 16, due to the possibility of severe weather and flooding associated with Hurricane Sally,” According to a statement on its Facebook page. “All-day and night classes for Tuesday and Wednesday are canceled. All students should remain home during this time. Online and hybrid classes will continue to meet virtually. LBWCC will reopen with a normal schedule on Thursday, Sept. 17.”

The City of Andalusia joins the Covington County EMA in encouraging residents to make storm plans now. If you do not feel comfortable in your home, please make arrangements to move to a safer place. EMA has no plans to open a local storm shelter.

Mayor Earl Johnson conducted a storm preparation meeting for city departments earlier today, and its police, fire, public works and utilities departments will be prepared to deal with Sally’s effects.

Andalusia, Covington County and Opp school officials will make determinations about school on Tuesday.

We will continue to update as the situation evolves.