The forecast track for Tropical Storm Sally has shifted east Sunday night away from southeast Louisiana, reversing a westward trend earlier in the day and possibly keeping the eventual hurricane’s strongest winds, heaviest rain and highest storm surge away from metro New Orleans.
It is still expected to form into a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico on Monday.
The National Hurricane Center said in its 10 p.m. update Sally was located approximately 140 miles southwest of Panama City, Florida and moving northwest at 8 mph.
It had maximum sustained wind gusts of 60 mph.
“Sally is expected to produce rainfall of 8 to 16 inches with isolated amounts of 24 inches over portions of the central Gulf Coast from the western Florida Panhandle to southeast Louisiana from Monday through the middle of the week,” NHC said in its update.
Sally, now forecast to roll ashore as a Category 1 hurricane Monday night, is predicted to bring major flooding from rain and storm surge, along with its high winds as it crawls onto the coast near the Louisiana-Mississippi line. The storm’s glacial pace will mean it will take days to fully traverse the region.
State of emergency declarations have been made in areas across southeast Louisiana and some regions are under evacuation orders.
The potential heavy rainfall could be a significant threat to locations away from the coast, including the Baton Rouge area.
The next track update will be 4 am Monday.