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Hurricane Sally lumbers into Gulf Coast, bringing heavy rains

MOBILE, Ala. (Reuters) - Hurricane Sally on Wednesday uprooted trees, flooded streets and cut power to hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses as the powerful storm tore across the Alabama-Florida coast, and brought the threat of more flooding to the U.S. Southeast.

Some parts of the Gulf Coast have already been inundated with more than 18 inches (46 cm) of rain in the last 24 hours, with more precipitation expected throughout the day even as the storm’s winds slow, the National Hurricane Center said.

Pensacola, Florida, a coastal resort community of 50,000, suffered up to 5 feet of flooding and travel was cut by damaged roads and bridges. More than 500,000 homes and businesses across the area were without power as the storm knocked over stately oak trees and tore power lines from poles.

The storm was moving at a slow 5 mile-per-hour (8 km-per-hous)pace toward the Alabama-Florida border, similar to other recent U.S. storms that caused massive flooding and property damage.

“The rain is what stands out with this one. It’s unreal,” said Cavin Hollyhand, 50, who left his home on a barrier island and took shelter in Mobile, Alabama, where he viewed the damage on Wednesday.

Upon landfall at Gulf Shores, Alabama, Sally’s winds were clocked at 105 mph (165 kph). Along the coast, piers were ripped away by the storm surge and winds.

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey, in a message on Twitter, told residents not to go outside to check on damage unless necessary, and to stay away from live power lines and fallen trees.


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