Tropical Storm Sally picked up speed as it shifted west overnight and is now forecast to be a Category 2 hurricane prior to landfall, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Sally, which formed into a tropical storm Saturday, was located about 300 miles east-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River, according to a 7 a.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center.
At the time, it was moving west-northwest at 13 mph with maximum sustained winds of 50 mph. A storm is upgraded to hurricane status when winds reach 74 mph.
“The track has been shifted west & has sped up,” the National Weather Service-New Orleans tweeted Sunday morning. “The forecast also now brings Sally up to a category 2 hurricane prior to landfall. With the nudge left and increase in strength the forecast impacts have increased.”
🌀 Here is the 4am update from @NHC_Atlantic on #Sally. The track has been shifted west & has sped up. The forecast also now brings Sally up to a category 2 hurricane prior to landfall. With the nudge left and increase in strength the forecast impacts have increased. #LAwx #MSwx pic.twitter.com/OMeAXzDzIu— NWS New Orleans (@NWSNewOrleans) September 13, 2020
On Saturday, Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a State of Emergency in advance of Tropical Storm Sally. The National Weather Service had already issued hurricane and tropical storm watches for areas of Southeast Louisiana.
Edwards said while weather experts don’t yet know where Sally will make landfall, much of southeast Louisiana is in the storm’s cone and the risk of tropical storm force or hurricane strength winds continues to increase.
Sally is predicted to dump 6-12 inches over portions of the central Gulf Coast starting Monday, though 20 inches is possible in some areas.
Edwards urged people to stay "weather aware" for the next several days and heed the directions of your local officials, adding that, “This storm has the potential to be very serious.”
“Barely two weeks ago, Louisiana suffered a devastating blow when Hurricane Laura came ashore as the strongest hurricane ever to make landfall in Louisiana history, leaving a trail of destruction in its path,” Edwards said. “This, when combined with the COVID-19 pandemic, can make us all weary. I implore Louisianans to take their preparations seriously.”
Sally is forecast to strengthen to a hurricane that could impact Louisiana as early as Monday morning. Weather experts believe it could make landfall sometime Tuesday.
In advance of the storm, a hurricane warning is in effect from Grand Isle, Louisiana, to Ocean Springs, Mississippi, as well as Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Maurepas, including metropolitan New Orleans.
The warning also includes Livingston, Tangipahoa, Ascension, and St. James parishes.
A storm surge watch is in effect from Mississippi/Alabama Border to the Alabama/Florida border.
A hurricane watch is in effect from east of Ocean Springs to the Alabama/Florida border. Much
A tropical storm warning is in effect from east of Ocean Springs to Indian Pass.
A tropical storm watch is in effect from Indian Pass to Ochlockonee River, Florida.
A storm surge warning is in effect from Port Fourchon Louisiana to the Mississippi/Alabama Border and also for Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Maurepas, and Lake Borgne.