FIRST ALERT: Tropical Storm Sally update

Nick Lilja's Sunday night forecast 09/13

PINE BELT, Miss. (WDAM) - Tropical Storm Sally is now moving across the warm water of the Gulf of Mexico and toward the northern Gulf Coast. It is now forecast to be a Category 1 hurricane when it makes landfall somewhere along with the Louisiana or Mississippi coastline.

What to expect:

During the next 48 hours, conditions will deteriorate slowly as Sally gets closer to South Mississippi. The system will be south of the coast by Monday night and start to fling rainbands through the region at that time. The threat for on-and-off tropical rainfall will continue through Tuesday and Wednesday and into Thursday.

While it is forecast to be a Category 1 hurricane at landfall, the Pine Belt is not likely to experience Category 1 hurricane conditions. The worst of the weather will be relegated to the coast and within about 15 to 20 miles of the coast where landfall occurs.

With all tropical systems, the main concern for the area is very heavy rain, gusty wind, and the potential for tropical tornadoes.

Timing:

Rain picks up on Monday evening after 5 p.m. The off-and-on rain and wind will continue through the overnight hours and through Tuesday and Wednesday as it appears right now. Heavy rain and gusty wind and flooding are the three main concerns. The threat of tornadoes will develop slowly, depending on the track of the system.

This may be a long-term, multi-day event for our area. While it may not be raining non-stop, when rainbands do move through your area, they will bring with them heavy rain, gusty wind, and the potential for a tropical tornado.

Threats:

Heavy rain, gusty wind, flooding, and the chance for some tropical tornadoes will be the main concern. Rainfall rates may be as high as two inches an hour within the rainbands.

Rain total estimates: 3″ - 8″ for most places, up to 15″ possible for a few spots

Sustained wind estimate: 20 mph - 50 mph (lighter northeast, stronger southwest)

Length of time to deal with the sustained wind: 48 hours; Monday night - Wednesday night

Wind gust estimate: 40 mph - 75 mph (lighter northeast, stronger southwest)

Length of time with potential wind gusts: 36 hours; Tuesday morning - Wednesday night

The estimates are based on the current forecast track and intensity. It may change if the track shifts.

More Info:

For more scientific information on this - and other - forecasts, you can get extra details and a complete scientific breakdown over on Nick’s Blog.

Preparations:

Check your Hurricane Preparedness Kit. Make certain that you have all the supplies you would need to survive without power and water for up to two weeks. Have your NOAA Weather Radio programmed with fully-charged batteries available for it. If you must travel, make sure to check the weather conditions, watches, warnings, and advisories before venturing out the door.

Review your Severe Weather Plan and know what you would do if a severe storm or the tornado was near you. If you don’t feel comfortable riding out a storm where you live, make a plan regarding when you would leave your home and where you would go.

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