Gulf Coast again braces for strike from hur­ri­cane

San Francisco Chronicle - - NATION - By Janet Mcconnaugh­ey and Re­becca San­tana Janet Mcconnaugh­ey and Re­becca San­tana are As­so­ci­ated Press writ­ers.

NEW OR­LEANS — Hur­ri­cane Sally churned to­ward the Louisiana­mis­sis­sippi coast Mon­day with rapidly strength­en­ing winds of at least 100 mph and the po­ten­tial for as much as 2 feet of rain that could bring se­vere flood­ing.

Storm­weary Gulf Coast res­i­dents rushed to buy bot­tled water and other sup­plies ahead of the storm, which was on a track to brush by the south­east­ern tip of Louisiana and then blow ashore late Tues­day or early Wed­nes­day near the Mis­sis­sippi­alabama line for what could be a long, slow and ruinous drench­ing.

It will be the sec­ond Gulf Coast pound­ing from a hur­ri­cane in less than three weeks. On Aug. 27, Hur­ri­cane Laura blew ashore in south­west­ern Louisiana along the Texas line.

Sally’s slug­gish track could give it more time to drench the Mis­sis­sippi Delta with rain and push storm surge ashore.

Peo­ple in New Or­leans watched the storm’s track in­tently. A more east­erly course could bring tor­ren­tial rain and

dam­ag­ing winds to Mis­sis­sippi. A more westerly track would pose an­other test for the low­ly­ing city, where heavy rains have to be pumped out through a cen­tury­old drainage sys­tem.

Even with a push to­ward the east, New Or­leans, which is on Lake Pontchar­train, will be in the storm surge area, said Univer­sity of Mi­ami hur­ri­cane re­searcher Brian Mcnoldy. The Na­tional Hur­ri­cane Cen­ter fore­cast storm surges of up to 11 feet, in­clud­ing 4 to 6 feet in Lake Pontchar­train.

New Or­leans po­lice went on 12­hour shifts, and res­cue boats, bar­ri­cades and backup gen­er­a­tors were read­ied, Po­lice Su­per­in­ten­dent Shaun Fer­gu­son said.

Tony Giberson / Pen­sacola News Jour­nal

A life­guard stand is re­moved from flooded Pen­sacola Beach, Fla., as Hur­ri­cane Sally spins off­shore in the Gulf of Mex­ico.

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