Storm Sally hits southeastern United States, causing “historic” flooding

Submerged streets and power cuts: the US state of Alabama and northwestern Florida were swept away, on the night of Wednesday, September 16 to Thursday, September 17, by rains from Storm Sally. In total, according to the poweroutage.com site, more than 510,000 homes had no electricity on Wednesday in these two states.

One person is believed to have died in the coastal town of Orange Beach in Alabama, but Mayor Tony Kennon said he had no more information, the AL news site reported. com.

Read also Hurricane Sally on the way to hit the Southeastern United States

Hurricane Sally made landfall at 4:45 a.m. (11:45 a.m. in Paris) on Wednesday in Gulf Shores, a small town in the state of Alabama. It was then in category 2, and has since been downgraded to tropical storm, then to tropical depression.

At 5 a.m. KST Thursday, the eye of the hurricane was about 31 miles southeast of the town of Montgomery, Alabama. Sally was due to cross southeastern Alabama overnight before arriving in central Georgia and then South Carolina on Thursday, still accompanied by torrential rains, the National Hurricane Center said.

“Devastating effects” in Pensacola

The winds carried by Sally have calmed down and now reach a maximum speed of 55 km / h. The low is moving slowly (at around 15 km / h), which means continuous rains over the same areas for an extended period, intensifying the rising waters, according to the latest National Hurricane Center (NHC) bulletin released at 5 hours Thursday. “Catastrophic and historic floods are underway”, also warned the institution.

The streets of the city of Pensacola and its 50,000 inhabitants, in the far northwest of Florida, were turned into torrents, according to numerous videos circulating on social networks.

The passage of the hurricane had “Devastating effects”David Morgan, Sheriff of Escambia County, where Pensacola is located, said at a Wednesday morning press conference. “We are anticipating evacuations which will number in the thousands” when these are possible, he warned. The situation ” is bad “, he said, reporting that part of a city bridge had likely collapsed. “It’s going to take a considerable amount of time to clean this up. “

Relief operations were underway and shelters were opened in the area, but authorities urged people to stay safe in their homes when possible.

“Historic” flooding in Alabama

About 40 miles away, in Alabama, footage showed the marina in the seaside town of Orange Beach swept away, with pleasure boats blown by the winds to the docks amid debris.

Authorities in Baldwin County, where Orange Beach is located, alerted Wednesday morning of a “Extremely dangerous situation”, with “Serious and extensive damage”.

The hurricane also caused significant damage around the nearby town of Mobile, where windows were smashed and the streets were littered with tree branches.

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“There are many areas with historic flood levels”Alabama Governor Kay Ivey, where a state of emergency was declared on Monday, said Wednesday. Mme Ivey explained to the population that due to the weather conditions “Delays were going to be recorded in restarting electricity and other essential services”.

Governor Ron DeSantis has also declared a state of emergency for counties in northwest Florida.

The World with AFP

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