Torrential rains and high winds continued to batter South Alabama Wednesday afternoon as Hurricane Sally made a very slow turn to the east.
Sally made landfall near Gulf Shores early Wednesday as a Category 2 hurricane after pummeling the northern Gulf coast for most of the prior day with drenching rains and high winds. The storm has caused severe flooding and destruction in multiple communities, including Mobile, along with widespread power outages as winds toppled trees sitting in saturated ground.
In Pensacola, the storm is blamed for tearing out a section of Three Mile Bridge. Across the region, Sally has washed out roads and also forced the closing of a section of Interstate 10 at the Escambia Bay Bridge because of high winds and flooding.
At 2 p.m. Wednesday, Alabama Power was reporting more than 175,000 customers without power, mainly in the Mobile area. Over the course of the storm, more than 466,000 customers had experienced some service disruption. The outages included all of Dauphin Island.
Crews were working where it is safe to get the lights back on, but in many areas, conditions were still not safe to begin restoration work.
Alabama Power began positioning extra crews from across its service territory in the Mobile area prior to the storm, so that they were in position to move quickly once the weather improves. More than 1,800 additional resources from across the state will support restoration efforts in the Mobile area.
Staging areas are being established to support restoration. The company is also consulting with its sister companies and other investor-owned utilities that are ready to move swiftly to assist in restoration efforts, if needed.
“We are working as quickly as we can, as safely as we can, to assess damage and restore service,” said Kristie Barton Alabama Power general manager. “We also want our customers to stay safe, especially with the storm still moving through.”
Barton advised customers to please steer clear of crews working in their neighborhoods, considering the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The company has taken extra precautions to keep its crews healthy and safe while they work to restore power.
Customers also were advised to stay away from downed power lines, as well as fallen trees and tree limbs that could be hiding downed lines. Always assume a downed line is still energized and poses a potentially deadly hazard. If a downed line is spotted, call Alabama Power at 1-800-888-2726 or local law enforcement and wait for trained crews to perform the potentially dangerous work of removing the line or any debris.
With rain still falling, customers also were advised to stay away from flooded areas and stay off the roads, if possible. To report a power outage, visit Alabama Power at www.alabampower.com or download the Alabama Power mobile app. Customers also can call 1-800-888-2726 to report an outage. Updates on restoration efforts are being posted on Alabama Power social media channels, including Facebook and Twitter.
Sally is just the latest severe storm in what has been a very active hurricane season. With more storms possible before the season ends later this fall, Alabama Power customers should remain vigilant and have their storm-readiness plans in place. Learn more about how to prepare at www.alabamapower.com. Click on “Our Company” and then “Outages & Storm Center.”