Hurricane Sally makes landfall in Alabama, Florida, shutting down several highways

September 16, 2020

Tyson Fisher


Hurricane Sally came in strong as a Category 2 storm along the Alabama coastline on Wednesday morning, causing damage and numerous road closures.

At about 5:45 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 16, Hurricane Sally made landfall near Gulf Shores, Ala., as a Category 2 storm with sustained winds of about 105 mph. The National Hurricane Center said “historic and catastrophic flooding” could occur just west of Tallahassee, Fla., to Mobile Bay, Ala. More widespread flooding is expected throughout Alabama into central Georgia. Western South Carolina, western/central North Carolina and far southeast Virginia can possibly experience flooding as well.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued a regional emergency declaration in response to Hurricane Sally. That declaration affects Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi. Truckers providing direct assistance for relief efforts in those states are granted relief from certain federal regulations. Details about the declaration can be found here.

On Tuesday, Sept. 15, the International Registration Plan temporarily suspended IRP and IFTA requirements in Alabama for truckers engaging in relief efforts due to Hurricane Sally.

As of Wednesday morning, the Alabama Department of Transportation is reporting the following weather-related road closures:

  • Interstate 10 (westbound) at mile marker 35.9 near Exit 35/Daphne in Daphne.
  • Interstate 10 (eastbound) at mile marker 27.8 at Exit 27/Causeway in Mobile.
  • U.S. 90 at mile marker 47.3 near state Route 181 in Baldwin County.
  • U.S. 45 at mile marker 10.6 near state Route 158 in Mobile County.
  • U.S. 98 at mile marker 12.3 near Snow Road in Mobile.
  • U.S. 98 at mile marker 28 at Bankhead Tunnel in Mobile.
  • U.S. 98 at mile marker 40.1 near Daphne Avenue in Daphne.
  • U.S. 98 at mile marker 79.9 near Florida State Line in Baldwin County.
  • State Route 59 at mile marker 2.1 near state Route 180 in Gulf Shores.
  • State Route 59 at mile marker 79 near state Route 21 in Baldwin County.
  • State Route 113 at mile marker 11.9 near Interstate 65 in Escambia County.
  • State Route 135 (westbound) near State Route 182 in Gulf Shores.
  • State Route 161 at mile marker 0.3 near state Route 182 in Orange Beach.
  • State Route 182 at mile marker 9.8 past state Route 161 in Orange Beach.
  • State Route 188 at mile marker 16.8 near state Route 193 in Mobile County.
  • State Route 193 at mile marker 8.1 near state Route 188 in Mobile County.
  • State Route 193 at mile marker 14.7 near state Route 163 in Mobile County.

Real-time Alabama traffic information can be found here.

The Florida Department of Transportation is also reporting several road closures in the wake of Hurricane Sally

Those closures include:

  • Interstate 10 from state Route 297 northbound to W. Nine Mile Road.
  • Interstate 10 from Pace to Pensacola.
  • U.S. 98 at Paradise Lane.
  • U.S. 98 from N. 13th Avenue to Baybridge Drive.
  • U.S. 98 (westbound) at Mary Esther Drive.
  • U.S. 98 from Ferry Road SE to Calhoun Avenue.
  • U.S. 331 from Old Spanish Trail to Vann Circle.
  • State Route 81 at Vortex Spring Road.
  • State Route 85 at Lighthouse Point Road.
  • State Route 85 at Old Ferry Road.
  • State Route 196 at E. Romana Street.
  • State Route 281 at Porpoise Road.
  • State Route 292 at Mirella Street.

For up-to-date Florida closures, click here.

FDOT also announced that the toll suspension for the Garcon Point Bridge has been extended by 48 hours. Tolls will be suspended until noon Friday, Sept. 18, allowing time for Hurricane Sally to pass through the area for the Garcon to serve as a temporary detour while FDOT assesses the Pensacola Bay Bridge.

As of 11:15 Central, nearly 600,000 customers were without power in Alabama, Florida and Louisiana.

The National Hurricane Center expects hurricane conditions to continue throughout Wednesday afternoon in southern Alabama and western Florida panhandle. Life-threatening storm surges are also likely in that area.

Hurricane Sally weakened to a Category 1 storm and remained there as of 11 a.m. CDT. The storm will likely rapidly weaken to a tropical depression as it moves further inland. Hurricane Sally’s movement should increase in speed going north-northeast.

The storm was initially expected to hit eastern Louisiana and Mississippi. However, the slow-moving storm changed trajectory eastward, striking Alabama directly instead. Hurricane Sally’s shift in direction provided some relief for Louisiana, which was hit by Hurricane Laura, a Category 4 storm, on Aug. 27.