Tropical Storm Sally is on the path to becoming a hurricane as it moves through the Gulf of Mexico and could head towards New Orleans by Monday.
Hurricane watches and storm warnings have been in effect in Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and the Florida panhandle, Weather.com reported.
The storm is predicted to make landfall late Tuesday in Louisiana, and Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has already declared a state of emergency in advance of the storm.
The storm system is then expected to move into South Mississippi, according to a tweet from the National Weather Service in Birmingham.
Tropical Storm Sally is over the Northeast Gulf of Mexico and continues to move northwest. Landfall expected late Tuesday in Louisiana followed by the system moving into South Mississippi. After that, a turn to the northeast would affect portions of Central Alabama by midweek. pic.twitter.com/AnTFk70izS
— NWS Birmingham (@NWSBirmingham) September 13, 2020
“While we ultimately don’t know where Sally will make landfall, much of Southeast Louisiana is in the storm’s cone and the risk of tropical storm force or hurricane strength winds continues to increase. Please stay weather aware for the next several days and heed the directions of your local officials. This storm has the potential to be very serious,” Edwards said in a statement.
A mandatory evacuation order was put in place for New Orleans residents outside of levee protection to leave their homes by 6 p.m. on Sunday.
Those areas are expected to see six to nine feet of storm surge.
In a 4 a.m. Sunday tweet from the National Weather Center New Orleans, officials said the storm could become a category two hurricane before it makes landfall.
ǳ Here is the 4am update from @NHC_Atlantic on #Sally. The track has been shifted west & has sped up. The forecast also now brings Sally up to a category 2 hurricane prior to landfall. With the nudge left and increase in strength the forecast impacts have increased. #LAwx #MSwx pic.twitter.com/OMeAXzDzIu
— NWS New Orleans (@NWSNewOrleans) September 13, 2020
By Sunday morning, Tropical Storm Sally was 250 miles west of Port Charlotte, Florida, according to an update from the National Hurricane Center.
The storm’s impact has already impacted regions of South Florida. Key West, Florida, experienced ten inches of rain due to the storm, causing street closures due to the flooding.