Hurricane Sally lumbered ashore near the Florida-Alabama line with 105 mph (165 kph) winds and rain measured in feet, not inches, swamping homes and trapping people in high water as it pushed inland for what could be a slow and disastrous drenching across the Deep South.
Moving at an agonizing 3 mph, or about as fast as a person can walk, the storm made landfall at 4:45 a.m. close to Gulf Shores, Alabama, about 30 miles from Pensacola. It accelerated to a light jog as it battered the Pensacola and Mobile, Alabama, metropolitan areas encompassing nearly 1 million people.
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“It cast boats onto land or sank them at the dock, flattened palm trees, peeled away roofs, blew down signs and knocked out power to more than a half-million homes and businesses. A replica of Christopher Columbus’ ship the Nina was missing from the Pensacola waterfront” Police reported.
Sally tore lose a barge-mounted construction crane, when then smashed into the new Three Mile Bridge over Pensacola Bay, causing a section of the year-old span to collapse, authorities said. The storm also ripped away a large section of a newly renovated fishing pier at Alabama’s Gulf State Park.
“Emergency crews plucked people from numerous flooded homes in Escambia County, which includes Pensacola, where more than 40 were rescued within a single hour, including a family of four found in a tree, Sheriff David Morgan also Added.