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Hurricane Sally updates: Category 2 storm makes landfall, flash flood emergency issued

Some locations have already received up to 25 inches of rain.

Hurricane Sally made landfall near Gulf Shores, Alabama, just before 6 a.m. ET Wednesday as a dangerous Category 2 storm, and is now bringing the threat of catastrophic and life-threatening flooding to the Gulf Coast.

Some areas have already received up to 25 inches of rain, which the National Weather Service said could be doubled given how quickly the rain has fallen in a short period of time.

Sally is crawling north-northeast at 3 mph, causing major flooding in Baldwin County, Alabama, county officials said.

The county emergency management agency called it an “extremely dangerous situation” with “severe widespread damage.”

“If you are on high ground above flooded areas, being prepared to stay where you are,” officials said.

Up to 4 inches of rainfall an hour is possible within the intense bands of rain north and east of the storm’s center.

The National Weather Service issued a flash flood emergency alert until 8 a.m. ET for parts of Alabama and the Florida panhandle, including Pensacola. Parts of Florida’s Okaloosa and Santa Rosa counties are under the emergency alert until 11:45 a.m.

“These warnings are issued for exceedingly rare situations when a severe threat to human life and catastrophic damage from a flash flood is happening,” the National Weather Service said Wednesday morning. “This is a life-threatening situation. Seek higher ground now.”

PHOTO: Hurricane Sally made landfall around 5:45 a.m. ET near Gulf Shores, Alabama.

Hurricane Sally made landfall around 5:45 a.m. ET near Gulf Shores, Alabama.

Hurricane Sally made landfall around 5:45 a.m. ET near Gulf Shores, Alabama.

Pensacola, where storm surge is being reported, is seeing wind gusts up to 92 mph.

“Flooded roadways and intersections, along with hazardous debris in roadways (locations), have become too numerous to list,” the Pensacola Police Department said. “Please stay off the roadways now.”

The slow-moving storm has already forced some local first responders to stay indoors. The Orange Beach Police Department in Alabama said it could no longer respond to calls.

“Present conditions are preventing us from answering calls at this time. Please take all measures to be as safe as possible,” the department tweeted. “If you have the option to move to higher ground do so now.”

Power outages have already impacted more than 274,000 customers in Alabama, 212,000 customers in Florida and 10,000 customers in Mississippi.

Hurricane Sally’s latest path shows the storm tracking northeast. After Wednesday, remnants of Sally will continue to inch inland toward Atlanta, where up to a foot of rain is possible.

Heavy rain will even spread into South Carolina, North Carolina and southern Virginia, where some areas could see up to a half a foot of rain. Flash flooding is expected there Friday.

This storm has also resulted in several tornado warnings, though no tornadoes have been confirmed yet. A tornado watch was issued for parts of Florida, Georgia, and Alabama until 7 p.m. ET.

Sally is the eighth continental U.S. named storm to make landfall in 2020. The other named storms to make landfall in 2020 so far have been: Bertha, Cristobal, Fay, Hanna, Isaias, Laura and Marco.

Sally’s landfall in Gulf Shores, Alabama, comes 16 years to the day after Hurricane Ivan made landfall in Gulf Shores as a Category 3 storm.

ABC News’ Daniel Manzo, Max Golembo and Rachel Katz contributed to this report.


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