(The Center Square) – While residents of low-lying areas in southeast Louisiana still face possible flooding, Hurricane Sally has continued to veer away from the state toward Mississippi and Alabama, forecasters said Tuesday afternoon.
“We stand ready to assist,” Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said. “While we benefited from the changes [of the storm’s direction], the states of Mississippi and Alabama did not.”
Forecasters have downgraded Sally from a Category 2 to a Category 1. The hurricane is expected to make landfall Wednesday morning with sustained winds of about 80 miles per hour. The greater threat will be from rain.
The storm is moving very slowly – only about 2 miles per hour – which increases the risk of flooding. Forecasters expect Sally to produce 10 to 20 inches of rain along the Gulf Coast with up to 30 inches in isolated areas.
“Historic flooding is likely with extreme life-threatening flash flooding likely through Wednesday,” the National Hurricane Center says.
At 4 p.m. Wednesday, a hurricane warning was in effect from Bay St. Louis, Miss. to Navarre, Fla. A storm surge warning was in effect from the mouth of the Mississippi River to the Okaloosa/Walton county line in Florida.
Edwards said search-and-rescue assets that the Federal Emergency Management Agency staged in Louisiana have been moved to Alabama. He said he had contacted governors Kay Ivey and Tate Reeves – of Alabama and Mississippi, respectively – to offer Louisiana’s support.
More than 12,500 Louisiana residents who evacuated after Hurricane Laura wrecked southwest Louisiana still are being sheltered, mostly in New Orleans hotel rooms, officials say. Another 5,300 are being sheltered in Texas.
Residents of Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, Jefferson Davis and Vernon parishes who suffered roof damage from Hurricane Laura are eligible for FEMA’s blue tarp program at no cost to them. The deadline to apply is Sept. 21, though it may be extended.
Residents of Acadia, Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, Jefferson Davis, Rapides, Vermilion and Vernon parishes are eligible for the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Residents can call 1-888-LA-HELP-U to apply.