Sally expected to hit near New Orleans Tuesday afternoon

A hurricane warning is in effect along the Gulf Coast, from Grand Isle to Ocean Springs, Miss. This includes Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Maurepas and metropolitan New Orleans, the National Weather Service said.

As of noon, Tropical Storm Sally was about 140 miles from Apalachicola, Fla., and 240 miles from the mouth of the Mississippi with 58 mph winds and 69 mph gusts. The storm is moving west-northwest at about 15 mph.

Sally, the earliest "S" storm since storms were given names, will become a hurricane Monday afternoon with 81 mph winds. By 1 a.m. Tuesday, as she nears the Louisiana coast, Sally is expected to become a Category 2 hurricane with winds of 104 mph.

The storm will diminish to a Category 1 hurricane when it strikes land near New Orleans Tuesday afternoon. Sally is expected to take a hard northeast turn, leaving the "toe" of Louisiana into south Mississippi as a tropical storm on Wednesay and becoming a tropical depression and rainstorm as it continues into Alabama later in the week.

Sally has already made a name for herself in south Floriday and the Keys, where her 10-inch downpour resulted in flooding and closed streets.

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