Hurricane Sally touched down in Florida and Alabama on Wednesday, leaving at least one person dead and more than 500,000 people without power.
Sally, which has been downgraded to a tropical depression as of Thursday, was still dumping “torrential” rains over eastern Alabama and western and central Georgia on Thursday, according to the National Hurricane Center.
There was at least one confirmed death in Alabama, Emergency Management Agency Director Brian Hastings said at a press conference.
The death was a man in Orange Beach, Mayor Tony Kennon said, according to Fox affiliate WALA. Kennon also said that the victim’s wife remains missing.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of those who have lost loved ones, and we hope that we don’t have any more deaths,” Hastings said. “Over half the deaths in Louisiana from Hurricane Laura were actually preventable, and they were the result of carbon monoxide from generators, people falling off roofs and heatstroke… Please use caution to keep yourself and your family safe.”
The storm wreaked havoc on the area, reportedly leaving parts of Alabama and Florida with 2 or more feet of rain, and even causing a section of the new Three Mile Bridge over Pensacola Bay to collapse.
As of Thursday morning, more than 500,000 people in Alabama, Florida and Georgia were still without power, according to PowerOutage.US.
Though Sally touched down as a Category 2 storm with 105 mph winds, the slow-moving storm has weakened, with maximum sustained winds of 30 mph as it continues to move over Alabama and Georgia and into South Carolina late Thursday into Friday, the National Hurricane Center said.
Those in affected areas have been warned to expect “widespread flash flooding,” as well as possible tornadoes in southern Georgia and northern Florida.
“There are entire communities that we’re going to have to evacuate,” Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan told the Associated Press. “It’s going to be a tremendous operation over the next several days.”
Morgan said that at least 377 people in the county had been rescued from flood areas, and that authorities had saved more than 40 people trapped by high water in just one hour.
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey held a press conference Thursday morning, and said that many roads and bridges were still impassible.
“Sixteen years ago to the day when Hurricane Ivan hit our state, Hurricane Sally provided an unwanted sequel,” she said. “Citizens awoke to extensive damage and destructive property, and loss of power and infrastructure, and sadly, even the loss of life. While it could’ve been much worse, it’s been mighty bad and our state is reeling just as our people are hurting.”
Sally came just weeks after Hurricane Laura tore through the Gulf Coast, killing at least 28 people and causing an estimated $1.6 billion in damage to Louisiana crops and forests, according to NBC News and The Advocate.
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