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Gulf Coast Bracing for Hurricane Sally With High Winds, Torrential Rains, Flooding Expected

New Orleans is in the crosshairs as Tropical Storm Sally is forecast to hit the city as a hurricane by early Tuesday.

Millions of storm-weary residents along the Gulf Coast are getting ready for high winds and heavy rain.

The storm is expected to bring the potential dangers of deadly flooding and strong winds. Forecasters from the National Hurricane Center in Miami expect Sally to become a hurricane today, then come ashore with as much as 20 inches of rain.

The potential for severe weather stretches from the western Florida Panhandle to southeast Louisiana.

Mandatory evacuations have been ordered in Mississippi and Louisiana.

Gov. John Bel Edwards (D-LA) warned residents not to underestimate the seriousness of the storm.

“We have really good reason to be very concerned about this storm, particularly because it is going to be a slow-moving storm,” said Edwards. “The slower it moves the longer the winds generate a storm surge, and the longer the rain bands have to just drop torrential amounts of rain.”

“Make sure you’re prepared,” the governor tweeted. “Follow your local news and continue to listen to your local leaders. Be smart and be safe.”

And New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell issued a mandatory evacuation for areas outside the city’s levee system.

“Prepare today,” Cantrell said Sunday. “Gather emergency supplies including food, water and medication for at least three days.” 

Meanwhile, many residents are taking the necessary precautions to stay safe before and after the storm.

Chris Yandle of Mandeville, a city just north of New Orleans, stocked up on a week’s worth of food and supplies, then moved his lawn furniture indoors.

“I’m mostly trying to stay calm – especially with a family of four and a dog to worry about,” Yandle said. “I’ve lived through many hurricanes growing up in Louisiana, but I haven’t felt this anxious about a hurricane in my life.”

Jeffrey Gagnard, who lives in Chalmette, Louisiana, spent Sunday helping his parents in Mississippi as they prepared to safely evacuate ahead of the storm. 

“I mean, after Katrina, anything around here and anything on the water, you’re going to take serious, you know? You can’t take anything lightly,” he explained.
 
In Waveland, Mississippi, Joey Chauvin prepared for the storm by tying down items in the yard of his camp area.

“If this one hits the coast as a Cat 2, I’m thinking we’re gonna have at least six to seven feet of water where we’re standing at,” Chauvin said. “So, yeah, we’re definitely not going to stay.”

Mississippi officials warned that Sally is expected to come with a high tide leading to a serious storm surge.

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