Sally drenches Southeast as Atlantic remains historically active


COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The Southeast U.S. was soaked by Hurricane Sally, which made landfall early Wednesday (5:45 a.m. ET) near Gulf Shores, Ala., as a Category 2 hurricane packing 105 mph maximum sustained winds. A landfall peak wind gust of 99 mph was recorded at Mobile, Ala., and on Dauphin Island.

The remnants of Sally moved through Georgia and the Carolinas Thursday, heading off the East Coast Friday, drenching the interior Southeast with more than 6 inches of rain.

Upwards of 30 inches of rain inundated areas around Pensacola, Fla., as the slow-moving hurricane crossed the upper Gulf Coast, causing catastrophic flooding that resulted in hundreds of water rescues. More than 500,000 homes and businesses lost power in parts of Alabama, Georgia and the Florida Panhandle.

The most powerful storm currently in the Atlantic Basin is Hurricane Teddy, a Category 4 storm with maximum sustained winds of 130 mph, which will likely impact Bermuda Monday, and then Nova Scotia Wednesday.

Tropical Storm Wilfred formed in the far eastern Atlantic, and Tropical Depression 22 is expected to become a named storm in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico this weekend, which will require using the Greek alphabet (Beta) for only the second time in history, after Tropical Storm Alpha flared up just before making landfall in Portugal Friday.

A record-tying five named named tropical cyclones (Paulette, Rene, Sally, Teddy and Vicky) were in progress over the Atlantic Basin earlier in the week, which last occurred in 1971, according to the National Hurricane Center. The record for tropical storms (39 mph or greater) and hurricanes (74 mph and greater) at one time is four, occurring in six different years.

The layer of smoke 15,000 to 25,000 aloft over the Ohio Valley from the Western wildfires reached the East Coast and northern Europe, leaving a yellowish tint to the sky. The passage of a cold front has diminished the concentration.

More than 80 active wildfires in the West continue to loft smoke and fine ash high into the atmosphere.

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