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.

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Mike Allen, author of AM
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