Gulf of Mexico (KPLC) - Less than three weeks since major category four Hurricane Laura devastated the coastline of Southwest Louisiana, another hurricane has its eye set on a landfall over the southeastern portion of our state as Hurricane Sally makes a much slower arrival and could leave parts of the Gulf Coast region with significant flooding from storm surge and heavy rain that won’t be quick to exit.
While Sally stays a much weaker category one hurricane prior to landfall, the slow-moving nature of the storm could dump over a foot of rain east of where the center makes landfall, which is likely going to be somewhere near Biloxi, Mississippi. While surge levels could still exceed 10 feet in parts of extreme southeastern Louisiana in the bays and inlets of St. Bernard and Plaquemines parishes, the overall threat to Louisiana lessens with each shift east in the track.
The most important thing to watch will be any small deviations in the track as a westward wobble could bring much higher rain totals for places such as New Orleans, while a further shift east in the track will bring even lower amounts that are currently predicted. The storm will make its closest pass to Louisiana as it skirts by eastern Plaquemines and St. Bernard parishes Tuesday morning and afternoon before making landfall likely across the Mississippi coastline by late Tuesday night as a strengthening category two hurricane.
Rainfall amounts, while track dependent, will range from as low as 1 to 3 inches for the metro New Orleans area to as much as 12-15 inches for southern Mississippi and Alabama. While this will bring some major impacts to the region, it will cause no issues for Southwest Louisiana as clean-up and restoration efforts continue as full speed.
The only issue could be power loss in other parts of the Gulf Coast region that would necessitate more workers to restore power in places that were not affected by Laura. According to a message from Entergy customers in Southwest Louisiana Sunday night, they wanted to assure their customers in Calcasieu and Cameron parishes that their crews' preparations for Sally would not impact their timeline to complete power restoration to Southwest Louisiana.
Several other storms continue to move across the Atlantic with none of them posing a threat to the Gulf of Mexico. Only 1 name is left to be used in the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season with storms after Wilfred taking on names from the Greek alphabet. The active hurricane season is expected to continue through September and into October due mainly to the La Nina weather pattern in place.