Sep 16, 2020
Resurgent Sally threatens drenching in Alabama, Florida
This news has been received from: Associated Press
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PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) — A newly strengthened Hurricane Sally pummeled the Florida Panhandle and south Alabama with sideways rain, beach-covering storm surges, strong winds and power outages early Wednesday, moving toward shore at an agonizingly slow pace that promised a drawn out drenching and possible record floods.
Some 150,000 homes and businesses had lost electricity by early Wednesday, according to the poweroutage.us site. A curfew was called in the coastal Alabama city of Gulf Shores due to life-threatening conditions. In the Panhandle’s Escambia County, Chief Sheriff’s Deputy Chip Simmons vowed to keep deputies out with residents as long as physically possible. The county includes Pensacola, one of the largest cities on the Gulf Coast.
“The sheriff’s office will be there until we can no longer safely be out there, and then and only then will we pull our deputies in,” Simmons said at a storm briefing late Tuesday.
This for a storm that, during the weekend, appeared to be headed for New Orleans. “Obviously this shows what we’ve known for a long time with storms – they are unpredictable,” Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson IV said.
Sally rapidly strengthened as it approached land, quickly rising into a Category 2 storm, packing 100 mph (160 kph) winds. It was 65 miles south-southeast of Mobile, Alabama, and moving north-northeast at 2 mph (4 kph). Landfall was expected on the northern Gulf Coast early Wednesday. A National Hurricane Center forecast map showed a possible landfall between Alabama’s Mobile Bay and the Panhandle.
Sally was a rare storm that could make history, said Ed Rappaport, deputy director of the National Hurricane Center.
“Sally has a characteristic that isn’t often seen and that’s a slow forward speed and that’s going to exacerbate the flooding,” Rappaport told The Associated Press.
He likened the storm’s slow progression to that of Hurricane Harvey, which swamped Houston in 2017. Up to 30 inches (76 centimeters) of rain could fall in some spots, and “that would be record-setting in some locations,” Rappaport said in an interview Tuesday night.
Although the hurricane had the Alabama and Florida coasts in its sights Wednesday, its effects were felt all along the northern Gulf Coast. Low lying properties in southeast Louisiana were swamped by the surge. Water covered Mississippi beaches and parts of the highway that runs parallel to them. Two large casino boats broke loose from a dock where they were undergoing construction work in Alabama.
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves urged people in the southern part of his state to prepare for the potential for flash flooding.
After dumping rain on the coast Wednesday, Sally was forecast to bring heavy downpours to parts of Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and the Carolinas later in the week.
Sally’s power was an irresistible draw for some in its path.
With heavy rains pelting Navarre Beach, Fla., and the wind-whipped surf pounding, a steady stream of people walked down the wooden boardwalk at a park for a look at the scene Tuesday afternoon.
Rebecca Studstill, who lives inland, was wary of staying too long, noting that police close bridges once the wind and water get too high. With Hurricane Sally expected to dump rain for days, the problem could be worse than normal, she said.
“Just hunkering down would probably be the best thing for folks out here,” she said.
Wang reported from Mobile, Alabama and Martin, from Marietta, Georgia. Associated Press reporters Russ Bynum in Savannah, Georgia; Sophia Tulp in Atlanta; Tamara Lush in St. Petersburg, Florida; Rebecca Santana in New Orleans; Emily Wagster Pettus in Jackson, Mississippi and Kim Chandler in Montgomery, Alabama, contributed to this report.
News Source: Associated Press
Tropical Storm Beta makes landfall on Texas coast
The storm made landfall about 5 miles (8 kilometers) north of Port OÇonnor, Texas, with maximum winds of 45 mph (72 kph), the U.S. National Hurricane Center said. Its winds weakened as it made its way to shore over several days.
Beta was the ninth named storm that made landfall in the continental U.S. this year. That tied a record set in 1916, according to Colorado State University hurricane researcher Phil Klotzbach. This was the first time a Greek letter named storm made landfall in the continental U.S. Forecasters ran out of traditional storm names on Friday, forcing the use of the Greek alphabet for only the second time since the 1950s.
TROPICAL STORM BETA TAKES AIM AT TEXAS, LOUISIANA AS GULF COAST SEES STORM SURGE, FLOODING
Michael Koudelka and Carol Kelly walk through tidal flood waters on East Hunter Drive in the unincorporated community of Freddiesville near Bayou Vista, Texas on Monday, Sept. 21, 2020. Tidal surge as well as rain showers from the storm continued to inundate low-lying area around Galveston County, Texas. (Stuart Villanueva/The Galveston County Daily News via AP)
The biggest unknown from Beta was how much rainfall it could produce in areas that have already seen their share of damaging weather during a busy hurricane season.
“This still is probably the most uncertain part of the forecast,” Dan Reilly, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in the Houston-Galveston office, said about rainfall from Beta.
Earlier predictions of up to 20 inches (51 centimeters) in some areas were downgraded Monday to up to 15 inches (38 centimeters). Texas coastal counties were most likely to see 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 centimeters) with 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 centimeters) farther inland, Reilly said. Rain had already fell in Houston and other areas down the Texas coast on Monday before Beta came ashore.
Forecasters and officials reassured residents Beta was not expected to be another Hurricane Harvey or Tropical Storm Imelda. Harvey in 2017 dumped more than 50 inches (127 centimeters) of rain on Houston, causing $125 billion in damage in Texas. Imelda, which hit Southeast Texas last year, was one of the wettest cyclones on record.
Storm surge up to 4 feet (1.2 meters) was forecast from Port Aransas to Sabine Pass in Texas.
Beta was expected to move northeast along the Texas coast over the next couple of days, weakening into a depression by the time it gets to the Houston-Galveston area on Wednesday before heading into Louisiana sometime mid-week, forecasters said. Flash flooding was possible in Arkansas and Mississippi as the system moves farther inland.
In Galveston, an island city southeast of Houston, there was already some street flooding from rising tides and part of a popular fishing pier collapsed due to strong waves.
Farther south on the Texas coast, Maria Serrano Culpepper along with her two daughters and dogs left their home in Magnolia Beach near Matagorda Bay on Sunday night.
Culpepper said she didn’t want to be trapped in her home, three blocks from the beach, with wind, rain and possibly no electricity. She and her family evacuated to a friend’s home in nearby Victoria.
Culpepper said her home should be fine as it’s on stilts 13 feet (4 meters) off the ground and was built to withstand strong storms.
“I’m feeling OK now. I had two nights without sleeping because I was worried about (Beta) being a Category 1 hurricane. I calmed down when the storm lost power,” said Culpepper, who works as an engineer at a nearby chemical plant.
On Monday, Gov. Greg Abbott issued a disaster declaration for 29 Texas counties ahead of Beta’s arrival.
Beta is forecast to dump heavy rain on the southwestern corner of Louisiana three weeks after the same area got pounded by Hurricane Laura. The rainfall and storm surge prompted Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards to declare a state of emergency. In Lake Charles, which
In Lake Charles, Mayor Nic Hunter worried about Beta’s rainfall could set back efforts in his Louisiana community to recover after Laura, which damaged about 95% of the city’s 30,000 structures. Hunter said the worry of another storm was “an emotional and mental toll for a lot of our citizens.”
TROPICAL STORM BETA CRAWLS OFF TEXAS COAST, THREATENS FLASH FLOODING INTO LOUISIANA
Beta would be the ninth named storm to make landfall in the continental U.S. this year. That would tie a record set in 1916, according to Colorado State University hurricane researcher Phil Klotzbach.
Parts of the Alabama coast and Florida Panhandle were still reeling from Hurricane Sally, which roared ashore Wednesday, causing at least two deaths. Two Boston-based disaster modeling firms figured Sally caused about $2 billion in privately insured losses from wind and storm surge. Karen Clark & Company estimated losses at $2 billion, while AIR Worldwide said they were between $1 and $3 billion. The estimates don’t include uninsured losses, the National Flood Insurance Program claims or damage to offshore property, like oil rigs.
Hurricane Teddy was about 295 miles (475 kilometers) northeast of Bermuda Monday night as it heads toward Nova Scotia. It had maximum sustained winds of 100 mph (160 kph) while moving north at 25 mph (40 kph) and away from the wealthy British territory, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami. It was expected to weaken and become a strong post-tropical cyclone before reaching Nova Scotia on Wednesday.
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The government closed all air and sea ports, schools and government offices for the second time in a week. Hurricane Paulette made landfall in Bermuda on Sept. 14, knocking down trees and leaving thousands without power.