‘Catastrophic flooding’ expected as Hurricane Sally makes landfall on US Gulf Coast
In Dauphin Island, Alabama, winds sustained 81 mph (130 kph), while in Pensacola, Florida, winds were at 61 mph (98 kph), NHC said.
In Mobile, Alabama, strong winds shook windows while trees and power lines swayed.
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.
Officials across the South had called on residents of low-lying areas to shelter away from the winds and rain. But for some, Hurricane Sally’s slow approach brought a chance to relive childhood memories of storms past, and to witness the power of nature first hand.
Thomas Harms braved the wind and rains on Tuesday to watch the waves crash into the Fairhope Municipal Pier, and reminisced about past storms. As a child, he went with his grandfather to see storms arrive, and he did the same on Tuesday for his son.
“It kind of takes a little bit of the fear out of it and also help you understand the dangers of it too,” said Harms. “I’ve been kind of passing that on to my son in doing the same thing.”