MIAMI, Florida – NOAA’s National Hurricane Center issued a Public Advisory at 11 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time on Monday, September 14, 2020, due to the presence of Tropical Storm Sally (formerly Invest 96L and Tropical Depression Nineteen) that is forecast to become a hurricane tracking toward Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.
Sally is the earliest 18th named storm of any Atlantic Hurricane season by 20 days. The previous record was held by Stan in 2005.
Tropical Storm Sally Projected Path
Tropical Storm Sally is located about 140 miles east-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River and is moving to the west-northwest at 6 mph (9 km/h).
NHC forecasters say that this general motion is expected today, followed by a decrease in forward speed and a turn to the northwest tonight and a northward turn sometime on Tuesday.
On the official NHC forecast track, the center of Sally will move over the north-central Gulf of Mexico today, and approach southeastern Louisiana tonight, and make landfall in the hurricane warning area on Tuesday or Tuesday night.
Afterward, Sally is expected to move slowly north-northeastward near the northern Gulf Coast through Wednesday.
Tropical Storm Sally Computer Models
Spaghetti models are in general agreement that Tropical Storm Sally will track west-northwestward then northwestward over the Gulf of Mexico.
The spread between the computer models is starting to narrow with a predicted landfall anywhere between southeastern Louisiana and Alabama.
The general trend in the computer models has been shifting eastward for the past few cycles, and the official NHC forecast (red circle) has been nudged in that direction and lies between the GFS American model (purple square) and ECMWF European model (orange triangle) but a little west of the various consensus aids.
Tropical Storm Sally Category Strength
Tropical Storm Sally has maximum sustained winds of 65 mph (100 km/h), with higher gusts.
Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 125 miles (205 km) from the center of the cyclone.
Strengthening is expected over the next day or so.
Sally is forecast to become a Category 1 hurricane by tonight.
Some additional strengthening is possible before the center crosses the northern Gulf Coast.
Tropical Storm Sally Watches and Warnings
A Storm Surge Warning is in effect from Port Fourchon, Louisiana to the Alabama/Florida border; Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Maurepas, and Lake Borgne; and Mobile Bay.
A Hurricane Warning is in effect from Morgan City, Louisiana to the Alabama/Florida border; Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Maurepas, including metropolitan New Orleans.
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect from the Alabama/Florida border to Indian Pass, Florida; and Intracoastal City, Louisiana to the west of Morgan City, Louisiana.
A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect from Indian Pass, Florida to Ochlockonee River, Florida.
The peak of the Atlantic hurricane season occurred on September 10 when tropical cyclone activity significantly increases, according to NOAA and the National Weather Service’s historical hurricane activity data.
Currently, a total of 7 tropical cyclones may form within the next 5 days.
NOAA and Colorado State University forecast an “extremely active” 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season which runs from June 1 through November 30.