ORANGE BEACH, Ala. (CBS News) — Hurricane Sally, which has weakened to a tropical storm, is battering the Gulf Coast at a slow pace and with massive amounts of rain – unleashing “catastrophic and life-threatening” flooding along with parts of the Florida Panhandle and southern Alabama, according to the National Hurricane Center.
The storm’s eye crossed over land near Gulf Shores, Ala., early Wednesday as a Category 2 hurricane with sustained winds of 105 mph. As of Wednesday afternoon, the eye was about 30 miles west-northwest of Pensacola, Florida, with winds of 70 mph.
The storm is now creeping north-northeast at 5 mph, maintaining an excruciatingly slow pace, which means it could produce nearly three feet of rain in some areas and storm surges as high as seven feet. Rainfall is already being measured in feet – not inches – and tornadoes remain a possibility in Florida, Alabama and Georgia.
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