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Hurricane Sally Could Bring Extreme, Life-Threatening Flash Flooding to the Western Florida Panhandle

Photo: Florida Storms

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1 pm update

The National Hurricane Center says extreme, life-threatening flash flooding is possible in the western Florida Panhandle from Hurricane Sally as it slowly approaches the Gulf Coast.

As of the latest update, top sustained winds are near 85 mph, but Meteorologist Ray Hawthorne says severe flash flooding is the main risk from Sally today and Wednesday as the storm moves around 2 mph.

“I’m expecting 10 to 20 inches of rain in a widespread area from Destin and Fort Walton west to Pensacola. Isolated amounts of up to 30 inches are possible. Peak storm surges of 3 to 5 feet are likely in that area, with surges as high as 1 to 3 feet as far east as the Nature Coast.”

Ray says Sally is expected to make landfall around midday Wednesday between coastal Mississippi and the far western Florida Panhandle. He says the rain directly from Sally may not diminish until Friday when the storm gets picked up by a cold front.

8 am update 

Hurricane Sally is moving slowly toward the west-northwest at 2 mph and has top sustained winds of 85 mph as of the latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center.

Meteorologist Ray Hawthorne of the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network continues to monitor the trends.

“The eye of the hurricane is about 100 miles from Pensacola Beach. A strong rain band is within about 10 miles of the Escambia County shore and about 20 miles offshore from Santa Rosa and Okaloosa counties. Waterspouts are possible from this band, but could move onshore as tornadoes late this morning and afternoon. For this reason, a Tornado Watch is now in effect areawide until 6 PM.”

Hurricane Warnings continue from Navarre westward, and Storm Surge Warnings are in effect from the Okaloosa/Walton county line and west. Flash Flood Watches are in effect areawide.

Ray says widespread 10 to 20 inches of rain is now forecast, which he says is likely to cause historic flooding across parts of Florida. Isolated amounts of up to 30 inches are possible where the more persistent rain bands develop.

4 am update

Hurricane Sally is moving slowly toward the west-northwest at 2 mph and has top sustained winds of 85 mph as of the latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center.

Meteorologist Ray Hawthorne of the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network is monitoring radar trends.

“The eye of the hurricane is about 105 miles from Pensacola Beach. A strong rain band is within about 15 miles of shore and is likely to stay just offshore the Escambia County coast through about 7:30 am. However, waterspouts are possible from this band. Otherwise, widespread rain will continue areawide, with wind gusts of 35 to 45 mph south of Interstate 10 in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties early this morning.”

Hurricane Warnings continue from Navarre westward, and Storm Surge Warnings are in effect from the Okaloosa/Walton county line and west.

Flash Flood Watches are in effect areawide.

Ray says widespread 10 to 20 inches of rain is now forecast, which he says is likely to cause historic flooding across parts of Florida. Isolated amounts of up to 30 inches are possible where the more persistent rain bands develop.


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