Disasters & Accidents

Sally gains hurricane strength off northern US Gulf Coast

Miami, Sep 14 (efe-epa).- Sally strengthened to a Category 1 hurricane on Monday in the northern Gulf of Mexico and is forecast to grow even more powerful before making landfall on the northern United States Gulf Coast.

In its latest bulletin, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center said the hurricane currently is packing maximum sustained winds of 150 kilometers (90 miles) per hour.

At 1 pm (1800 GMT) Louisiana time, Sally’s eye was located about 200 km east-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River and 260 km southeast of Biloxi, Mississippi.

It currently is “meandering over the north-central Gulf of Mexico” but should resume a movement toward the west-northwest at a speed of 11 km/h later on Monday, the NHC said.

The hurricane is forecast to slow down and turn toward the northwest on Monday night and then turn toward the north sometime on Tuesday.

Because of Sally’s slow movement, rainfall amounts are a major concern along the US Gulf Coast. The system is forecast to produce between 20 cm (eight inches) and 40 cm of rainfall, with isolated amounts of 60 cm, over a coastal area that stretches from the western Florida Panhandle to far southeast Louisiana, the NHC said.

It added that flash flooding is likely and that the rainfall will “likely lead to widespread minor to isolated major flooding on area rivers.”

Elsewhere, Paulette is now moving away from Bermuda after battering that British overseas territory in the North Atlantic as a Category 1 hurricane.

Paulette currently has maximum sustained winds of 170 km/h and continues to strengthen, but it is forecast to make a sharp turn to the east and not pose any threat to the US East Coast.

Three other storms also are currently swirling in the Atlantic basin.

Rene, a tropical depression, is far from land in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, while recently formed Tropical Storm Teddy is still far from the Lesser Antilles.

The NHC is forecasting that Teddy, which is currently located 2,015 km east of the Lesser Antilles and moving to the west at 22 km/h with maximum sustained winds of 65 km/h, will strengthen and become a powerful hurricane in a couple of days.

However, it is not expected to pose a direct threat to land.

Lastly, a tropical depression that formed far from the tropical western Atlantic on Monday became Tropical Storm Vicky, the 20th named storm of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season.

But the NHC said it is expected to be short-lived.

According to the NHC’s latest bulletin, that tropical storm was located 565 km west-northwest of the African archipelago of Cape Verde and was packing maximum sustained winds of 75 km/h. EFE-EPA


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