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A driver navigates along a flooded road as the outer bands of Hurricane Sally come ashore in Bayou La Batre, Alabama, on Tuesday. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Hurricane Sally made landfall near Gulf Shores, Alabama, as a Category 2 storm on Wednesday morning, packing maximum sustained winds were 105 mph.

What's happening: "Historic and catastrophic flooding is unfolding along and just inland of the coast, from Tallahassee, Florida, to Mobile Bay, Alabama," the National Hurricane Center said, as the storm's eyewall was moving across the coast.

"Life-threatening storm surge is occurring along portions of the coastline from Alabama to the western Florida Panhandle, including Pensacola Bay and southern portions of Mobile Bay."
National Hurricane Center
  • Some 240,00 PowerOutage.US. customers in Alabama, Mississippi and Florida were without power overnight as Sally's outer bands lashed the region.
  • "Sideways rain" and storm surges that covered beaches were reported across the Florida Panhandle and south Alabama, AP notes.

The big picture: The governors of Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida and Alabama have declared states of emergency, with more than 17 million people in the storm's path.

  • Shelters have opened from Louisiana to the Florida panhandle, with forecasters warning storm surges from Sally could be as large as 11 feet.

What to expect: "Widespread moderate to major river flooding is forecast," the National Hurricane Center said. "Significant flash and urban flooding, as well as widespread minor to moderate river flooding, is likely across inland portions Alabama into central Georgia.

"Widespread flash and urban flooding is possible, as well as widespread minor to moderate river flooding, across western South Carolina into western and central North Carolina. Scattered flash and urban flooding is possible, as well as scattered minor river flooding in southeast Virginia."

Background: Sally formed as a tropical storm on Saturday off Florida's coast in the Gulf of Mexico.

Editor's note: This is a developing news story. Please check back for updates.

Go deeper

Updated Nov 10, 2020 - Science

Theta becomes 29th named storm in record hurricane season

A satellite image of Subtropical Storm Theta. Photo: National Hurricane Center/Twitter

Subtropical Storm Theta formed in the Northeast Atlantic Monday night, becoming the 29th named storm of the 2020 hurricane season, the National Hurricane Center confirmed.

Why it matters: The formation of Theta, which was some 995 miles southwest of the Azores overnight, breaks the record for the most named storms in a season — set in 2005. The World Meteorological Organization sets 21 alphabetical names for every season (excluding Q,U, X, Y and Z). This is the second time ever it's used all and had to turn to the Greek alphabet.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with further context on the hurricane season.

Updated 8 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director defends agency's response to coronavirus pandemic — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Azar says deadly Capitol siege could "tarnish" Trump administration's legacy — Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.
Bryan Walsh, author of Future
16 mins ago - Politics & Policy

America is anxious, angry and heavily armed

Data: FBI; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Firearms background checks in the U.S. hit a record high in 2020.

The big picture: This past year took our collective arsenal to new heights, with millions of Americans buying guns for the first time. That trend coincides with a moment of peak political and social tension.