(CBSDFW.COM) – Tropical Storm Sally is expected to continue to intensify Sunday night and Monday into a Category 1 hurricane — if not, stronger.
Tropical force winds will reach the city of New Orleans by late Monday, making any evacuations at that point difficult.
Notice the cone of uncertainty covers not only the eastern half of the Louisiana coastline but Mississippi as well. If the storms gets stronger than forecast, the projected path will start to push east.
Hurricane force winds (74 mph and higher) are expected to arrive at the coast early Tuesday morning; winds over 60mph are possible in New Orleans later that morning:
The angle of approach of Sally is a major concern, the “dirty side” (eastern side of rotation) presents the highest winds and storm surge. This corridor of higher destruction and high water could ride right into Chanderleur Sound and Lake Borgne, pushing the storm surge into Lake Pontchartrain. This path would put the pumps that protect New Orleans from high water at high stress.
The storm surge from Sally is expected to reach 7 to 11 feet above sea level in this critical area. Be weary of the wind from a hurricane; be fearful of its water. Most fatalities from land-falling hurricanes occur from flooding.
Hurricane warnings are out from the Florida panhandle over to central Louisiana. Again worth repeating, the cone of uncertainty is still rather broad. If Sally becomes stronger than forecast it will likely turn north more quickly and land east of New Orleans.
Extensive flooding is expected across a large swath of Mississippi and Alabama. Forecast models suggest Sally will slow down as it makes landfall, significantly increases the rain totals. Perhaps as much as two feet of rainfall could hit the coastal region and just inland.
The CBS 11 weather team will continue to provide updates on this dangerous storm on CBS 11 News and our social media platforms.