Gulf Coast again braces for strike from hurricane
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.
A lifeguard stand is removed from flooded Pensacola Beach, Fla., as Hurricane Sally spins offshore in the Gulf of Mexico.