“Catastrophic and historic” floods in Alabama and Florida

Immersed streets and power outages: The US state of Alabama and northwest Florida were swept away overnight from Wednesday to Thursday by rain from Storm Sally.

She has been demoted but is still dangerous. Storm Sally swept through the US state of Alabama and northwest Florida overnight from Wednesday, September 16 to Thursday, September 17, causing extensive flooding. The streets are under water and hundreds of thousands of homes lack electricity.

A person is believed to have died in the coastal city of Orange Beach in Alabama, but Mayor Tony Kennon has said he has no more information, AL.com reported.

In total, according to the Poweroutage.com website, more than 510,000 homes had no electricity on Wednesday in those two states.

Tropical depression

Hurricane Sally landed at 4:45 a.m. (9:45 GMT) Wednesday in Gulf Shores, a small town in Alabama. It was then in category 2 and has since been downgraded to tropical storm, then to tropical depression.

The winds that Sally carries have calmed down and now reach a maximum speed of 55 km / h. The low is moving slowly (about 15 km / h), which means continuous rain over the same areas for a longer period, which intensifies the rising water, according to the latest National Hurricane Center (NHC) bulletin released at 3 pm GMT on Thursday.

“Catastrophic and historic floods are underway,” the department warned.

The streets of the town of Pensacola (northwest Florida), where about 50,000 people live, were turned into streams, according to many videos circulating on social networks.

The hurricane’s passage had “devastating effects,” David Morgan, the sheriff of Escambia County, where Pensacola is located, told a news conference Wednesday morning. “We expect evacuations that will be in the thousands” when these are possible, he warned.

“No one was prepared”

The situation “is bad”, he said, reporting that part of a bridge in the city had probably collapsed. “It will take a lot of time to clean it up.”

“No one was prepared for (a hurricane) in category 2. Me and a hundred neighbors, we did not put wooden planks or shutters” on our houses, explains 57-year-old David Triana, who lives in the small town of Navarra, near Pensacola .

Relief efforts were underway and protection was opened in the area, but authorities urged people to stay safe in their homes whenever possible.

“Extremely dangerous situation”

About 400 km away in Alabama, the pictures showed that the marina in the coastal city of Orange Beach was swept up, with leisure boats blown by the winds to the piers in the middle of rubbish.

Authorities in Baldwin County, where Orange Beach is located, warned Wednesday morning of an “extremely dangerous situation” with “serious and extensive damage”.

Due to the weather conditions, the Governor of Alabama, Kay Ivey, where a state of emergency was declared on Monday, declared to the people on Wednesday that “delays would be recorded in restarting electricity and other essential services”.

Governor Ron DeSantis has also declared a state of emergency for counties in northwest Florida.

The UN will soon run out of first names

Sally was to cross southeastern Alabama overnight before arriving in central Georgia and South Carolina on Thursday, still accompanied by heavy rain, the National Hurricane Center said.

When the sea surface warms, hurricanes become stronger, according to researchers, who predict an increase in the proportion of cyclones in categories 4 and 5.

Paulette, René, Teddy and Vicky: with Sally, no less than five storms occurred simultaneously across the Atlantic in early September, a record since 1971. There have been so many tropical storms in this ocean this year that the UN, which names them, is to run out of first names, just for the second time in history.

US weather services had predicted that the Atlantic hurricane season, which lasts from 1your June to November 30, would be extremely “active” with between seven and eleven hurricanes.

With AFP