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Sally downgraded to Tropical Storm, life-threatening flooding continues over Panhandle

Posted at 2:22 PM, Sep 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-16 14:43:43-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Sally has been downgraded to a tropical storm but it does not change the impacts that are ongoing.

Heavy rainfall and localized flooding is still our greatest local threat through Tuesday, along with the rest of the Panhandle to our west.

Max sustained winds are now at 70 mph. Sally is still dragging tons of moisture and rain into the Big Bend and Southern Georgia.

NHC says Sally is expected to deliver life-threatening storm surge, hurricane-force winds, and flash flooding to parts of the northern Gulf Coast.

WATCHES AND WARNINGS:

Storm Surge Warning:* Port Fourchon Louisiana to the Okaloosa/Walton County Line Florida* Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Maurepas, and Lake Borgne* Mobile Bay

Tropical Storm Warning:* Mississippi/Alabama border eastward to Indian Pass Florida

Tropical Storm Watch:* Indian Pass to Ochlockonee River Florida

Governor Ron DeSantis has issued a local state of emergencies for 13 North Florida counties ahead of Sally's landfall. More information here.

FORECAST:

Sally is moving toward the north-northeast near 2 mph.

A slow motion is expected to continue this morning followed by slightly faster northeastward motion on Wednesday night following landfall.
Sally is expected to move inland across southeastern Alabama Wednesday night and western and middle Georgia Thursday as a weakening system.

Coastal areas in Franklin County are under a tropical storm watch. A tropical storm warning is up for coastal and offshore waters of Apalachee Bay, along with areas west of Indian Pass.

The center of the storm will be well south and west of the area, so a landfall here is not expected. However, the tropical storm will bring heavy rain to parts of the area. A Flash Flood Watch is in place for Wakulla and Franklin County until Tuesday evening. Showers and storms are in the forecast through midweek.

Forecast rainfall totals vary widely across our region, ranging from less than half an inch in the Suwannee River valley to over eight inches for the Emerald and Forgotten coasts.

Most inland areas should avoid wind gusts above 20 mph. Winds will be a bit gustier along the Franklin and Wakulla coasts, exceeding 25 mph at times.

Water levels along the Wakulla and Franklin coasts will rise up to 2 feet above typical levels.

There is also a limited chance for waterspouts and/or brief tornadoes with any rain bands that reach the region around the storm's outer edge.

As always, be sure to follow the ABC 27 First Alert Weather Team on Facebook and Twitter. Be sure to download the Storm Shield App to get watches and warnings delivered straight to your phone to stay updated on your forecast through the week. Get the app today: iPhone/iPad | Android.