'Huge rainmaker': Hurricane Sally threatens historic floods

Storm-weary Gulf Coast residents are preparing for a new weather onslaught as Tropical Storm Sally churns northward. National Hurricane Center forecasters said Sally is expected to become a hurricane on Monday and reach shore by early Tuesday.

VALDOSTA – Parts of South Georgia can expect rainy days this week due to Hurricane Sally, according to the National Weather Service’s Tallahassee, Fla., office. 

Israel Gonzalez, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said the region will largely feel an impact of rainfall from the outer bands of the storm’s circulation through Thursday. 

Gonzalez said Tifton is considered to be at marginal risk for having a low-end severe weather threat Wednesday.  

He foresees the possibility of “isolated severe storms that are capable of producing damaging wind gusts” and said Tifton could possibly experience a “brief isolated weak tornado” Wednesday.

Half an inch to three quarters of an inch of rain are headed for both Valdosta and Tifton through Thursday though Gonzalez noted of importance Valdosta’s isolated areas will see amounts of four to six inches while Tifton’s isolated areas will see 10-15 inches.

“Regardless of where Sally ends up making landfall, (don’t) focus on the exact track of the cone,” Gonzalez said. “We always stress that because impacts can and will occur far away from the center of the storm, and so, it should be taken seriously regardless of where it makes landfall and that rainfall is still the primary threat with this system for those areas.” 

He said rainfall amounts can change since they are dependent on Sally’s track, which he said was 65 miles east of the mouth of the Mississippi River going 85 miles per hour “with a motion of northwest at two miles per hour” as of the Tuesday advisory.

The National Hurricane Center's advisory reported the same speed.

Sally was a Category 2 Monday but has since weakened, Gonzalez said.

While Valdosta has no severe weather threat, if Sally’s path shifts east, that could change, he said. 

He expects a wet pattern to occur during the next several days as a front is forecasted to come into the area.

Gonzalez confirmed Valdosta and Tifton will not see clear skies anytime soon.

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