Hurricane Sally achieves status as Category 2 storm
By ALAN SMASON
Hurricane Sally rapidly intensified to a Category 2 storm as weather forecasters continued predicting a trend for a more likely Mississippi Gulf Coast landfall late tonight or early Tuesday night. The heaviest winds near the center have measured at 100 m.p.h., which is significantly up from its previous high winds earlier this morning of 65 m.p.h.
The forward progress of the storm is down to 6 m.p.h., half the forward speed it registered yesterday when it was just a tropical storm. Weather authorities worry that the slow moving system could dump significant amounts of rainwater over the east side of the storm towards the Mississippi Gulf Coast cities of Biloxi and Pascagoula and on past Mobile, Alabama into the Florida panhandle.
At 5:00 p.m., the National Weather Service had the center of Hurricane Sally located at 28.8° N longitude and 87.4°W. The lowest pressure measure was 994 MB.
Forecasts suggest the system could dump as much as 18 inches of rain along the Alabama and Mississippi Gulf Coasts and hurricane-force winds could down trees and power lines and spin off possible tornados.
Tropical storm conditions extend 125 miles out from the center of Hurricane Sally with hurricane force conditions extending out 25 miles from the center. .
Although the Greater New Orleans metropolitan is out of the area expected to be most affected by the giant storm system, officials still have issued a flash flood warning for the city as the storm may bring with it some expected storm surge of 7-11 feet that might back up drainage canals.
High water is expected due to storm surge and hurricane warnings extend from Port Fouchon, LA. eastward to the Florida panhandle.