“We’re talking about (potentially) a historical rain event” Tuesday through Wednesday at least, Ken Graham, director of the National Hurricane Center, told CNN Tuesday morning.
It may not move to land until early Wednesday, possibly near the state line between Mississippi and Alabama, meteorologists said.
The outer bands were already hitting parts of the Alabama coast and the Florida Panhandle with rain early Tuesday.
Some of the storm’s major threats, forecasters say:
• Heavy rain and dangerous flash floods. About 1
• Strong winds. Hurricane conditions could be felt Tuesday afternoon or night in the hurricane warning area: from the Louisiana-Mississippi state line through just east of Pensacola, Florida.
Katrina’s survivor prepares for Sally
As the storm approached on Monday, Mississippian Mike Taylor prepared by filling and placing sandbags around his Long Beach home to keep the water out.
“I just have to prepare. This is all we can do,” Taylor said.
Taylor is not nervous about Hurricane Sally because she believes she has already experienced a worse storm, she said.
His 8-year-old grandson isn’t so sure of himself. Helping Taylor fill the sandbags, he told CNN that he is worried.
“I’m very nervous. The storm is coming at night and the wind can blow your house down,” the boy said.
A life Robert Higdon, 35, a resident of the Gulf Coast, also filled sandbags before the storm arrived. He said he’s not very worried about this hurricane, but he knows it’s best to “prepare for the unexpected”.
“I’d rather be prepared for the unexpected,” Higdon said. “If it’s a category 2 or lower, we just step over. A lot of people are willing to get by.”
Order evacuations along the coast
“Make plans to evacuate low-lying areas,” Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves said in a tweet Monday evening. “Emergency responders are ready to respond. This is the real deal and deserves your attention.”
Mandatory evacuations were announced along the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama ahead of the storm.
Residents in Plaquemines Parish, St. Charles Parish, and parts of Jefferson Parish have been told to evacuate as floods and storm surges are expected in those areas.
Flights canceled before the storm
Airports in at least two states have announced the cancellation of flights due to the storm.
Pensacola International Airport in Florida is closed and Alabama’s Mobile Regional Airport canceled all flights prior to Hurricane Sally.
American Airlines reported that it is “closely monitoring” the hurricane’s route and has waived modification fees for passengers who choose not to fly due to the storm.
United and Delta also said they will allow passengers to reschedule their flights due to the hurricane.
Ashley Killough, Michael Guy, and CNN’s Carma Hassan contributed to this report.