TRACKING THE TROPICS: Sally to bring widespread heavy rainfall to the Wiregrass

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This Saturday, Sept. 12, 2020 image provided by NOAA shows the formation of Tropical Storm Sally. Tropical Storm Sally has formed off south Florida, becoming the earliest 18th-named tropical storm on record in a busy Atlantic hurricane season. (NOAA via AP)

DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) – All indications from forecasters suggest a hurricane will bear down somewhere on the northern Gulf Coast Tuesday.

As of Saturday evening, Tropical Storm Sally had winds of 40 mph. It was moving slowly west at 7 mph.

Image: NHC

Hurricane Watches have been issued from the Alabama/Florida state line westward to southeastern Louisiana.  The Hurricane Watch includes Alabama’s Mobile and Baldwin Counties

Tropical Storm Watches were expanded to include the entire coastline of the Florida panhandle, west of the Ochlockonee River.

Sally is expected to become a hurricane Monday. The latest track would move Sally inland near the mouth of the Mississippi River as a Category 1 storm – with winds around 85 mph.

At this time, the center of the system is expected to stay well west of the Wiregrass; however, heavy rainfall will become the biggest threat for our region, it appears.

Forecasts from NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center show prolonged rain across the northern Gulf coast, beginning Sunday through much of the upcoming week. Rainfall totals could exceed three inches in parts of the Wiregrass, which may lead to pockets of flash flooding.

Image: NOAA/WPC

The WDHN First Alert STORM TEAM is tracking Tropical Storm Sally closely. Our meteorologists will keep you updated.

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