Tropical Storm Sally lashes Alabama and Florida

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2:00 p.m. ET, September 16, 2020

Sally is now a tropical storm

NOAA/STAR
NOAA/STAR

Sally has weakened to a tropical storm with winds of 70 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center's latest advisory.

The storm had landfall as a Category 2 hurricane early this morning in Alabama.

While the Sally is no longer a hurricane, there is still "catastrophic and life-threatening flooding" occurring in parts of Alabama and the Florida Panhandle, the center said.

1:39 p.m. ET, September 16, 2020

Downtown Pensacola flooded due to Sally: "With daylight, we are beginning to see the impacts" 

The city of Pensacola, Florida, shared images on Facebook showing the extensive flooding from Hurricane Sally in the downtown area of the city.

"Flooding this morning in downtown Pensacola. With daylight, we are beginning to see the impacts of #HurricaneSally," the post said.

The city warned residents to "please stay inside and off the roadways for your safety."

See the scene on the ground:

12:56 p.m. ET, September 16, 2020

Waters remain "dangerously high" across the Gulf of Mexico

From CNN meteorologist Haley Brink

It has been several hours since Sally made landfall. Still, the seas remain "dangerously high" tweeted the National Hurricane Center's Tropical Analysis and Forecast Branch.

Buoy 42012, which is just off Alabama's coast, was in the storm's eyewall — the most dangerous part of the hurricane.

The buoy recorded wind gusts of 110 mph and a wave height of 27 feet as the storm passed by.

12:31 p.m. ET, September 16, 2020

A look at the debris from Sally in Alabama's Baldwin County

Alabama's Baldwin County Emergency Management Agency said its received many reports of damages from Hurricane Sally.

The office on Twitter urged residents to stay home as dangerous conditions continue.

Earlier today, the agency said about 95% of residents were without power because of Sally. At that time, the county said it is still too dangerous for crews to begin rolling out to start restoration. 

12:07 p.m. ET, September 16, 2020

More than half a million customers are without power because of Sally

From CNN's Tina Burnside

As of noon ET, more than 500,000 customers are without power due to Hurricane Sally.

There are currently 504,808 customers without power in Florida and Alabama, according to PowerOutage.US.

Alabama is experiencing the most significant outages from Hurricane Sally, with at least 278,889 outages. There are at least 225,909 outages in Florida.

Hurricane Sally made landfall in Gulf Shores, Alabama, early Wednesday morning. More than 500,000 customers lost power at the height of the storm. 

11:59 a.m. ET, September 16, 2020

Here are some of the extreme winds Sally unleashed

CNN meteorologist Haley Brink

A man walks in Mobile, Alabama, during strong winds on September 16.
A man walks in Mobile, Alabama, during strong winds on September 16. Chandan Khanna/AFP/Getty Images

Hurricane Sally brought extremely high winds to portions of the Gulf Coast upon landfall this morning. 

Here are some of the strong reported wind gusts in association with Sally's landfall this morning:

  • 121 mph* in Fort Morgan, Alabama
  • 116 mph* in Gulf Shores, Alabama
  • 98 mph* in Dauphin Island, Alabama
  • 92 mph in Pensacola, Florida
  • 74 mph in Mobile, Alabama

*Depicts locations where the reporting station is elevated.

These winds have and will continue to cause damage across the Gulf Coast as the system continues to push inland. Sally has weakened some and now has sustained 80 mph winds but is still producing winds strong enough to knock down trees, power lines, and any loose debris.

1:19 p.m. ET, September 16, 2020

A section of the bridge that connects the Gulf Breeze to Pensacola is missing 

From CNN's Tina Burnside

from City of Gulf Breeze
from City of Gulf Breeze

Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan says a section of the Three Mile Bridge that connects Gulf Breeze, Florida, to Pensacola is missing due to Hurricane Sally. 

Morgan didn't say how extensive the damage to the bridge was, only indicating that an assessment was done on the bridge this morning. 

The city of Gulf Breeze tweeted that the Three Mile Bridge was closed along with a photo of what appears to be a crane on top of it. 

CNN is on the ground in Pensacola Beach:

11:44 a.m. ET, September 16, 2020

Florida county sheriff anticipates thousands of residents will need to be evacuated

From CNN's Tina Burnside

A man wades through flood waters in downtown Pensacola, Florida, September 16.
A man wades through flood waters in downtown Pensacola, Florida, September 16. Gerald Herbert/AP

Hours after Hurricane Sally made landfall, Escambia County, Florida Sheriff David Morgan says the devastation from the storm is "bad."

During a news conference on Wednesday morning, Morgan said there was extensive flooding in Escambia County from Sally.

"It's going to take a considerable amount of time to clean this up," Morgan said. 

Morgan compared Sally's devastation from the water to that of Hurricane Ivan in 2004. 

The sheriff anticipates thousands of residents will need to be evacuated due to flooding and covered roadways. 

"It's going to be a long time folks for us to come out of this thing," Morgan said. The sheriff is urging residents to stay indoors and to call 911 if they are in a life-threatening situation and need to be evacuated from the home. 

Morgan says there are no reports of injuries or fatalities at this time. 

11:29 a.m. ET, September 16, 2020

Sally's surge in Pensacola is higher than during Hurricane Katrina

A street is flooded in Pensacola, Florida, on September 16.
A street is flooded in Pensacola, Florida, on September 16. Gerald Herbert/AP

Sally's surge is the third-highest ever recorded in Pensacola, according to preliminary automatic readings. 

It has reached 5.6 feet of storm surge.

Historically Hurricane Katrina held the third-highest spot, with 5.43 feet mean higher high water level (MHHW). 

The top two spots are held by the 1926 Miami Hurricane with 7.42 feet MHHW and Hurricane Ivan in 2004 with 9.54 feet MHHW.