Mike Esmond knew what it was like to be broke and get his heat cut off in a brutal winter. So, for the second year in a row, he paid residents’ overdue utility bills in Gulf Breeze, Fla.
The storm is headed for the Texas and Louisiana coasts, another blow for states in the Gulf that have been hit by five other storms this hurricane season.
Meteorologists also designated Subtropical Storm Alpha, the first storm since 2005 to be named using a letter of the Greek alphabet, with over two months left in hurricane season.
The Florida Panhandle was hit with an unexpected intensity, and many were just beginning to reckon with the damage left behind.
The sluggish storm veered east and intensified before making landfall near the Alabama and Florida state line. Residents and officials said they were not anticipating a direct hit.
Staggering rain totals, fueled by a warming atmosphere that can hold more moisture, are being recorded from the storm.
Sally made landfall near Gulf Shores, Ala., as a Category 2 hurricane, with sustained winds over 105 m.p.h. The slow-moving storm is expected to bring “catastrophic” flooding.
Scientists say that climate change, which has also contributed to the wildfires on the West Coast, helped intensify a storm that is unleashing a deluge in Mississippi and Alabama.
Barely halfway through what one meteorologist called a “hyperactive” season, there is only one entry left on the 21-name list used for storms.
Officials urged people to prepare for “life-threatening” flash floods, torrential rains and strong winds. “This is the real deal,” Mississippi’s governor said.