The storm center is expected to move near the coast of southeastern Louisiana on Tuesday, reaching land on Tuesday night or Wednesday morning.
The storm has slowed as it approaches the Gulf Coast. As of early Tuesday, it was traveling west at 3 mph with sustained winds of 110 mph to 90 mph on Monday.
Thunderstorms and flash flooding are expected along the northern Gulf Coast, with some areas receiving more than 20 inches of rain.
Some coastal communities are already reporting floods.
Katrina prepares for survivor Sally
As the storm approached on Monday, Mississippian Mike Taylor prepared and placed sandbags around his home in Long Beach to keep the water out.
“Just got ready. This is all we can do,” Taylor said.
Taylor said that he is not nervous about Hurricane Sally because he believes he has already experienced a worse storm.
His 8-year-old nephew is not as confident. As he helped Taylor fill the sandbag, He told CNN that he is worried.
“I’m very nervous. A storm is coming at night and the wind can blow your house,” the boy said.
A lifetime Robert Higdon, 35, a Gulf Coast resident, also filled the sandbags before the storm arrived. He said he is not too worried about this storm, but knows that it is “to make up for the unexpected”.
The Gulf of Mexico hurricane could get faster, he said, so he always believes the storm is going to be slightly worse than official forecast predictions.
“I’d rather be prepared for the unexpected,” Higdon said. “If it’s a Category 2 or below then we just turn the bunker down. A lot of people are ready to ride it.”
Withdrawals ordered along the coast
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves said in a tweet Monday night, “Plan to evacuate the lowlands.” “Emergency operators are ready to respond. This is the real deal, and it deserves your attention.”
“Be smart. Prepare the worst. Pray the best,” Reeves said.
Mandatory evacuations have been announced along the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama prior to the storm.
People living in Plaquimines Parish, St. Charles Parish and parts of Jefferson Parish have been asked to evacuate as those areas are prone to flooding and storm surges.
Flights canceled in front of storm
Airports in at least two states have announced cancellations due to the storm.
Florida’s Pensacola International Airport is closed and Alabama’s Mobile Regional Airport has canceled all flights ahead of Hurricane Sally.
American Airlines reported that it is “closely monitoring” the storm’s track and has waived the change fee for passengers who choose not to fly due to the storm.
United and Delta also said they would allow passengers to reshuffle their flights due to the storm.
CNN’s Michael Guy and Karma Hassan contributed to this report.