Sally is the fourth hurricane to hit this year in the United States in 16 years – after Hannah, Isai and Laura – to hit the same date in 16 years.
It was transformed into a tropical storm after a landslide and then weakened into a tropical depression by Wednesday night. But despite losing strength, the flood remained a concern as it wreaked havoc in southeastern Alabama and central Georgia on Thursday. From there, it will move to South Carolina tonight.
Everywhere, it is forecast to bring devastating floods.
Florida gets four months of rain in four months
Although Sally has weakened since making landfall, its devastation will be felt in various states. At least eight rivers of southwestern Alabama and the western region of Florida are expected to reach major floodplain levels.
“We have 30 inches of rain – more than 30 inches of rain – in Pensacola, which is four months of rain in four hours,” said Ginny Cranor, head of Penasacola’s fire department.
According to the forecast, rainfall totals of 10 to 35 inches are possible from Mobile Bay to Thalassi, Florida.
In Pensacola and other parts of Florida, where rivers reached alarming levels, and trees and power lines made roads dangerous, residents imposed curfews to stay safe.
Escamia County, which includes Pensacola, asked residents to stay home so crews could evaluate roads and bridges. Local law enforcement will enforce curfew from three in the morning for three nights starting on Wednesday.
“We are still in an evaluation and lifelong recovery mission, and we need to be able to do that work,” said County Commissioner Robert Gender. “We are still evaluating our roads and bridges to ensure that it is safe.”
County Public Safety Director Jason Rogers said the crew rescued 377 people near the state’s border with Alabama and that many more threats could be expected in the coming days.
Florida Government. Ron DeSantis said the threat is far from over, with “a very high amount of water in northwest Florida” warning that Sally could see increased levels in the next few days.
“A lot of property is going to be damaged,” he said. “When you look at the city of Penasacola, you see three feet of water there, it’s probably going to affect every business in Penasacola – there’s not just two ways about it.”
Alabama warns to be cautious
In Gulf Shores, where the storm sank the land, Doris Stiers assessed the damage outside her beach house. She was shocked.
“Looks like a war zone,” he told CNN. “Lots of destruction, houses destroyed, roofs gone. I have no service, power or internet. Bad night.”
Orange Beach resident Matt Wilson, who stormed out at the house, said it was terrible.
Alabama officials warned that even if the storm had weakened, residents should not let their guard down.
The National Weather Service in Mobile tweeted, “The storm may move out of our local area, but it is important to be vigilant as many areas are still affected by floodwaters.”
What’s next from florida and alabama
Sally is transformed into a tropical depression with sustained winds of about 35 mph. Rainfall is still a significant threat and its risks are not limited to Florida and Alabama.
Mandatory evacuations were ordered for most of the coast and lowlands from Mississippi to Florida, and shelters were opened to evacuate.
Southeast Alabama and Central Georgia may receive 4 to 12 inches of rain, with significant flash flooding possible. Parts of South Carolina are forecast to receive 4 to 10 inches of rain, CNN meteorologist Robert Shackelford said.
He said isolated areas from western to central North Carolina and far south Virginia could receive up to 8 inches of rain.
The National Weather Service in Atlanta tweeted, “We have already seen significant flooding in parts of Alabama. Please remember not to drown.”
Shackelford said that in addition to rain, there is little risk for severe weather en route to Sally, possible.
CNN’s Nicole Chavez, Jason Hanna and Tina Burnside contributed to this report.