As Hurricane Sally slowly moves over the Gulf Coast in the next few days, historical flooding is predicted from rainfall for parts of Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, Florida and the Carolinas.
National Weather Service published a map of areas in Gulf Coast states most at risk for flash floods. Triple-I estimated the percentage of properties in these counties that are covered by flood insurance and found that purchase rates are remarkably low in some areas. In Taylor County, GA for example, just 0.09 percent of properties are insured against flooding.
Standard homeowners and renters insurance policies do not cover flooding. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and a growing number of private companies sell the coverage. However, NFIP policies purchased now would take 30 days to take effect. Private companies have shorter waiting periods, about 14 days.
Hurricane Sally made landfall this morning near Gulf Shores, Alabama, as a Category 2 storm with sustained winds of 105 mph and higher gusts. The storm threatens extremely heavy rainfall and catastrophic floods for miles. Dr. Philip Klotzbach, Triple-I non-resident scholar and Colorado State University atmospheric scientist, gives an update on the storm in the video above.
Hurricane Sally looks to be a very significant hurricane for the northern Gulf Coast according to Triple-I non-resident scholar and Colorado State University atmospheric scientist Dr. Philip Klotzbach.
While the Category 1 storm doesn’t look to intensify much today given relatively strong wind shear and cooler sea surface temperatures (since the storm is moving very slowly and consequently churning up colder water beneath the surface), we’re likely to have a long duration storm event unfolding over the next several days.
Wind impacts will be moderate, but the storm will be moving very slowly, so a prolonged period of high winds can be expected. The very slow-moving hurricane is going produce tremendous amounts of rain along the northern Gulf Coast. Large regions will likely experience 10+” of rainfall, with isolated storm totals approaching 30″, said Dr. Klotzbach.
Emergency declarations for parts of Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama have been issued and residents are urged to listen to local officials.