Sally Rapidly Strengthens to a Hurricane, Paulette Hits Bermuda

Former Tropical Storm Sally rapidly strengthened into a hurricane on Monday morning and Hurricane Paulette hit Bermuda.  At 12:30 p.m. EDT on Monday the center of Hurricane Sally was located at latitude 28.7°N and longitude 87.0°W which put it about 130 miles (210 km) east-southeast of the Mouth of the Mississippi River.  Sally was moving toward the west-northwest at 7 m.p.h. (11 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 90 m.p.h. (145 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 110 m.p.h. (175 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 986 mb.

A Hurricane Warning was in effect for the portion of the coast from Morgan City, Louisiana to the Alabama/Florida border including New Orleans, Lake Pontchartrain, and Lake Maurepas.  Tropical Storms Warnings were in effect for the portions of the coast from Intracoastal City to Morgan City Louisiana and from the Alabama/Florida border to Indian Pass, Florida.  A Tropical Storm Watch was in effect for the portion of the coast from Indian River Pass to the Ochlockonee River, Florida.

Formerly Tropical Storm Sally intensified rapidly on Monday morning.  A circular eye formed at the center of Hurricane Sally.  The eye was surrounded by a ring of very strong thunderstorms and the strongest winds were occurring in that ring of storms.  Bands of showers and thunderstorms were revolving around the core of Sally.  Storms near the core generated strong upper level divergence which pumped mass away from the hurricane in all directions.  Winds to hurricane force extend out 25 miles (40 km) from the center of circulation.  Winds to tropical storm force extend out 130 miles (210 km) from the center.

Hurricane Sally will move through an environment favorable for intensification during the next 18 hours.  Sally will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 30°C.  It will move through a region where the upper level winds are weak and there will be little vertical wind shear.  Hurricane Sally will continue to intensify and it is likely to strengthen rapidly.  Sally could intensify into a major hurricane during the next 24 hours.

Hurricane Sally will move around the western end of a subtropical high pressure system the extends from the western Atlantic Ocean over the southeastern U.S.  The high will steer Sally toward the west-northwest during the next 12 hours.  Hurricane Sally will move more toward the north on Tuesday when it reaches the western end of the high.  Sally will move more slowly when it reaches the western end of the high pressure system.  On its anticipated track Hurricane Sally will approach the Mouth of the Mississippi River on Monday night.  Sally could make landfall on the coast of Mississippi on Tuesday,

Hurricane Sally will bring strong winds to southeastern Louisiana and the coast of Mississippi.  Sally could generate a storms surge of 9 to 15 feet (3 to 5 meters) along the coast.  Hurricane Sally will also drop very heavy rain and flash floods are likely.

Elsewhere, Hurricane Paulette hit Bermuda on Monday morning.  There were reports of minor wind damage and power outages.  At 11:00 a.m. EDT on Monday the center of Hurricane Paulette was located at latitude 33.2°N and longitude 64.8°W which put it about 65 miles (105 km) north of Bermuda.  Paulette was moving toward the north at 14 m.p.h. (22 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 100 m.p.h. (160 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 120 m.p.h. (195 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 970 mb.  A Hurricane Warning remained in effect for Bermuda.

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