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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Updated Sep 17, 2020 - Science

Hundreds rescued as deadly Tropical Depression Sally sweeps Gulf Coast

A street flooded by Tropical Storm Sally in Pensacola, Florida, on Wednesday. Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

"Catastrophic" flooding from Tropical Depression Sally spilled inland across eastern Alabama and southwestern Georgia on Wednesday, bringing peak winds down to 45 mph winds, per the National Hurricane Center.

Why it matters: The mayor of Orange Beach, Ala., said one person died in the storm and hundreds of others have been rescued, per AP. Sally made landfall as a Category 2 hurricane near Gulf Shores, before later being downgraded to a tropical storm and later a depression. But the NHC warned late Wednesday it's "still causing torrential rains over eastern Alabama and western Georgia."

DeSantis to end federal unemployment program, saying Florida can't afford it

Trump speaks with DeSantis at Palm Beach International Airport, Florida, Sept. 8. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) plans to terminate a Trump program that supports unemployment benefits for out-of-work Floridians because the state's jobless program doesn't have the resources to qualify for the federal assistance, Politico reports.

Why it matters: Florida is among the first states to stop the program because of the cost. The state doesn't pay its unemployed workers enough to meet the 25% matching requirement, so people will lose out on an extra $300 a week made possible by President Trump's executive order, Politico notes.

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