Tropical Storm Sally is expected to strengthen into a category 2 hurricane as it approaches Louisiana, with governor John Bel Edwards to request a federal declaration from Donald Trump ahead of landfall on Tuesday.
Hurricane-force winds, life-threatening storm surges and flash flooding is forecast for much of southeast Louisiana, as well as Mississippi’s coastal and southern regions.
Mr Edwards said at a press conference on Sunday that Sally has shifted slightly west, bringing more of the state into its path, including parts of the New Orleans metro area.
The governor spoke to Donald Trump on Sunday morning and said he would submit a request for a pre-landfall federal declaration later today.
"We have really good reason to be very concerned about this storm, particularly because it will be a very slow-moving storm,” Mr Edwards said.
“Everybody should take this seriously, please understand that you should be moving now, acting now to get you and your family ready for this storm.”
The storm is expected to move further inland on Tuesday and into Tuesday night with winds up to 90 mph as it reaches category 2 status, according to the National Weather Service’s National Hurricane Centre.
Sally, which formed off Florida’s coast in the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday, is the earliest 18th named storm of an Atlantic hurricane season, coming almost three weeks earlier than the previous recorde set by Stan on 2 October, 2005, according to meteorologist Philip Klotzbach.
In declaring a state of emergency on Saturday, Mr Edwards implored residents to take preparations seriously.
“Barely two weeks ago, Louisiana suffered a devastating blow when Hurricane Laura came ashore as the strongest hurricane ever to make landfall in Louisiana history, leaving a trail of destruction in its path," Mr Edwards said.
Hurricane Laura killed at least 26 people after battering southwest Louisiana on 27 August, according to the Louisiana Department of Health.
More than 100,000 homes and businesses remain without power while the Red Cross says more than 20,000 people still haven’t returned home. At least 7,200 homes were either destroyed or suffered major damage.
Tropical Storm Sally is in front of a number of storms currently being tracked in the Atlantic, including Paulette, which has strengthened from a Tropical Storm to a Hurricane and is expected to move toward Bermuda by Monday morning. Tropical Depression Renee and Tropical Depression Twenty are also being tracked, with the latter expected reach hurricane strength by 15 September.
#Paulette, #Sally and #TD20 forecast to reach #hurricane strength by September 15. If forecast verifies, Atlantic will have 8 hurricanes by September 15. Only 3 years on record have had 8 Atlantic hurricanes by September 15: 1893, 2005, 2012. pic.twitter.com/jWVaLMu9vH— Philip Klotzbach (@philklotzbach) September 12, 2020