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Hurricane Sally lumbers into Gulf Coast, bringing heavy rains

EconomySep 16, 2020 12:07PM ET
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2/2 © Reuters. Hurricane Sally impact in New Orleans 2/2

By Devika Krishna Kumar and Catherine Koppel

MOBILE, Ala. (Reuters) - Hurricane Sally brought heavy winds and massive flooding as it landed on the U.S. Gulf Coast on Wednesday morning as a Category 2 hurricane, the latest in what has been a busy season of dangerous storms in the United States.

Some parts of the Gulf Coast have already been inundated with more than 18 inches of rain in the last 24 hours, with more precipitation expected throughout the day even as the storm's winds slow. Parts of Pensacola, Florida, were swamped with floods as high as five feet, the National Hurricane Center said.

The region could see as much as 3 feet (90 cm) of rain, as the storm moved at a slow 4 mile-per-hour (7 km-per-hour) pace toward the Alabama-Florida border, similar to other recent U.S. storms that caused massive flooding and property damage.

More than 500,000 homes and businesses were without power in Alabama and Florida early Wednesday, according to local utilities, with more outages expected.

Upon landfall at Gulf Shores, Alabama, winds were clocked at 105 mph (165 kph). At the Gulf State Park, a section of the pier broke, according to local media.

Officials across the South called on residents of low-lying areas to shelter away from rain and winds.

In Pensacola, wind gusts clocked 77 mph (125 kph) on Wednesday, and images on social media showed major floods. One witness reported hailstorms in the city as well.

Winds were also strong in Mobile, Alabama, where windows shook downtown, and trees and power lines swayed. Dexter Hart, who lives near the city, relocated to a hotel in the area because his house is surrounded by trees.

"It's scary right now," he said. "It's been keeping me up all night."

Sally is the 18th named storm in the Atlantic this year and the eighth of tropical storm or hurricane strength to hit the United States. Two other named storms have also recently formed in the Atlantic, and the hurricane season runs through the end of November.

"We've only got one name left," said Jim Foerster, chief meteorologist at DTN, an energy, agriculture and weather data provider, referencing the procedure to name storms. "That's going to happen here soon, Wilfred, and then we'll be into the Greek alphabet."

Damage from Sally is expected to reach $2 billion to $3 billion, said Chuck Watson of Enki Research, which tracks tropical storms and models the cost of their damage. That estimate could rise if the heaviest rainfall happens over land, Watson said.

Ports, schools and businesses were closed along the coast as Sally churned. As the storm track shifted east, ports along the Mississippi River were reopened to travel on Wednesday. But they were closed to vessel traffic from Biloxi, Mississippi, to Pascagoula, Florida.

Energy companies also shut more than a quarter of U.S. Gulf of Mexico offshore oil and gas production, and some refiners halted or slowed operations.

Hurricane Sally lumbers into Gulf Coast, bringing heavy rains
 

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some one
some one Sep 16, 2020 12:45PM ET
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Such a shame people have to struggle with this kind of tragedies. This year has been so full of events like this, and I just can't stop thinking about how vulnerable economically speaking this kind of events leaves us. So, we must be prepared, we must have our money wisely invested. There are several platform that offer make you rich day to night but that's just scam. What you should try is invest in people projects. There is this site called https://www.mintme.com where you can achieve this. You can either trade creators personalized coins or create your own for support.
Jan Buyle
Jan Buyle Sep 16, 2020 6:47AM ET
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The President will blame the increase in hurricanes on marine management I guess... not on climate change...
Luke Skywalker
Luke Skywalker Sep 16, 2020 6:47AM ET
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damn trump causing hurricanes
Ronald Warren
Ronald Warren Sep 16, 2020 6:47AM ET
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Hurricanes have existed since the beginning of time. What's changed? In addition, if the climate were changing. Why would it be Trump's fault? When this planet is through with us, it'll *******off a volcano and put everything to sleep, just like it did 14,000 years ago.
 
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