Sally downgraded to Cat 1; could bring ‘historic’ flash flooding to southeast

Sally strengthens to Cat 2 hurricane; Tropical Storms Teddy, Vicky form in Atlantic

MIAMI — This year’s hurricane season is on pace to be the most active of all time, and on Monday the tropics remained very busy.

The National Hurricane Center currently sees several tropical waves in the Atlantic storm basin, with four named storms.

Tropical Storm Sally, the earliest 18th-named tropical storm on record in a busy Atlantic hurricane season, made landfall near Gulf Shores, Alabama as a slow-moving Category 2 Hurricane around 5:45 a.m. ET. It had maximum sustained winds of 105 mph and was moving around 3 mph.

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As of 11 a.m., Hurricane Sally had been downgraded to a strong Category 1 storm with maximum sustained winds of 80 mph and was moving north-northeast at 5 mph.

Officials said one of the biggest concerns for this slow-moving system is it could dump inches of rain in its path and lead to flooding across the region. The National Hurricane Center warned Sally could bring “historic life-threatening flash flooding.”

New Orleans and surrounding nearby areas were placed under a hurricane watch. Storm surge warnings were also issued from Port Fourchon in Louisiana to the Mississippi/Alabama border. The National Weather Service has issued a flood emergency in areas from Tallahassee, Florida, to Mobile Bay, Alabama. Several tornado warnings were also issued.

Out in the Atlantic, Hurricane Paulette became a strong post-tropical cyclone Wednesday morning moving east-northeast at 35 mph with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph. The eye of Paulette moved over Bermuda on Monday morning.

After hitting Bermuda, the storm turned north and stay away from the U.S.

Tropical Depression 20 turned into Tropical Storm Teddy on Monday morning after forming off the west coast of Africa. It officially upgraded to a hurricane early Wednesday morning, but rapidly strengthened to a powerful Category 2 storm.

Teddy is moving northwest at 12 mph with maximum sustained winds of 100 mph.

In the coming days, Teddy could become a major hurricane and possibly strengthen to a Category 4 storm later in the week.

The West Coast of Africa is busy; there are two tropical waves developing on the continent. On Monday before noon, one of those waves turned into Tropical Storm Vicky.

Vicky formed west of the Cabo Verde Islands. It is not expected to cause a serious impact and will be short-lived. Vicky is the 20th named storm of the season and currently the fifth named storm in the Atlantic.

There is another wave over the Gulf of Mexico that has a 10% chance of formation in the next 48 hours.

The next storm will be named Wilfred. If we run out of names, the remaining storms will begin taking names from the Greek alphabet.

The last time that happened was 2005 -- which is the current record holder for the most active hurricane season ever.

The following tropical storms all set records as the earliest for their respective first letters to ever form -- Cristobal, Edouard, Fay, Gonzalo, Hanna, Isaias, Josephine, Kyle, Laura, Marco, Nana and Omar.