Edwards declares emergency as Sally heads toward New Orleans
The National Weather Service (NWS) in Lake Charles has announced that Tropical Storm Sally is in the Gulf and is likely to become a hurricane before making landfall in southeast Louisiana late Monday or early Tuesday. The storm has the potential to bring life-threatening storm surges to the Gulf coast, beginning Monday. Hurricane conditions along the coast could hit early Tuesday, the National Hurricane Center reported.
Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency Saturday and the National Hurricane Center issued a hurricane watch from Grand Isle to the Alabama-Florida border, including New Orleans. New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell ordered those living outside the city's levee system to evacuate beginning at 6 p.m. Sunday.
As Sally strengthens over the Gulf Coast in the coming days, storm surge is possible along the Gulf Coast shoreline starting Monday and hurricane conditions may begin in the warning area by early Tuesday, according to the Hurricane Center.
NWS Warning Coordination Meteorologist Roger Erickson said the storm's projected path has shifted slightly to the west. Erickson said the accuracy of a landfall prediction for a storm that is two to three days from shore is with 65-100 miles. Rainfall projections for this are call for 1-3 inches through Friday, with higher amounts possible along and south of the I-10 corridor between Lafayette and Lake Charles.
One concern is that trees left standing after Hurricane Laura are vulnerable. Erickson said 30-40 mph gusts would be enough to topple these trees, as well as damage tarps on roofs damaged by the recent hurricane.
Sally continues the 2020 hurricane season's record-setting pace for earliest forms, with Sally replacing Stan, who formed on Oct. 2, 2005.
Meanwhile, still far away in the Atlantic, Tropical Depression 20 is expected to become Tropical Storm Teddy by 1 p.m. Sunday, a Category 1 hurricane by 1 p.m. Tuesday, Category 2 hurricane by 1 p.m. Friday and still be a Cat 2 storm next Sunday in the Sargasso Sea as it is expected to pass to the east of Bermuda. These long-range projections have Teddy-to-be following close to Rene's projected path. Rene ran into unfavorable conditions and was knocked back and the left instead of continuing a north and west trajectory into the open Atlantic.
Unlike Sally, Teddy is not expected to cause anyone any problems. If it forms as expected, Teddy will replace 2005's Tammy as the earliest "T" storm, leaving on Vicky and Wilfred before 2020 storms have to be be referred to by letters of the Greek alphabet. That has only happened one other time since storms were given human names -- in 2005.
Paulette seems intent on striking Bermuda, or coming close to the island, as a Category 2 hurricane Monday before heading north and east toward the North Atlantic.
While the current hurricane season is on pace to have more storms than the notorious 2005, so far Laura is the only major storm of the season. 2005 had seven hurricanes of Cat 3 or higher -- Dennis, Emily, Katrina, Maria, Wilma, Rita and Greek letter Beta.