Sally’s forecast track is trending farther east
MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - BREAKING UPDATE: At 11 a.m., the National Hurricane Center says Sally has rapidly intensified. Winds are now sustained at 85 mph, making Sally a hurricane.
OVERVIEW: As of the 10 a.m. update from the National Hurricane Center (NHC), Tropical Storm Sally has sustained winds of 65 mph. There has been a shift to the east in the cone of uncertainty in this most recent update, and that follows the forecast model trends.
This means the New Orleans-area might be spared the worst of the storm. This also means a landfall is more likely along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, perhaps even as far east as the Biloxi or Pascagoula-areas. Lastly, it also means the center of Sally may move to the east of our area entirely.
LOCAL IMPACTS: If the center of Sally tracks east of our area, that is generally good news for us. This does not; however, necessarily mean we are totally in the clear from seeing direct impacts from Sally. We could still see flash flooding and gusty winds, but those impacts won’t be as widespread as initially thought. It will also mean that the already small tornado threat will be even smaller than initially thought.
So what can we expect? Up to 2-6 inches of rainfall could fall through Thursday, with some locally higher amounts up to 8″ in west-Alabama. This will still lead to flash flooding in spots. The heaviest of the rain will fall after midnight on Tuesday through Wednesday morning. Winds may occasionally gust up to 40-45 mph, especially late-Tuesday night and Wednesday. I can’t say there is a zero percent chance of a tornado, but tornadoes are unlikely overall.
With the current track, our west Alabama counties will likely feel the worst of Sally. Rainfall totals and wind speeds will generally decrease the further north and west you go across our area. For example, Neshoba County will see less impacts than compared to Choctaw County.
UNCERTAINTY IN THE FORECAST: Like I mentioned earlier, the track from the NHC and the forecast models has shifted Sally’s track farther east. That trend may continue as some models indicate that landfall could even occur in Alabama. The farther east the center of Sally goes, the better news for our area. With that said, a trend back to the west also can’t completely be ruled out, so be sure to keep up to date with the latest forecast. The forecast is still subject to change!!!
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