TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis late Monday declared a state of emergency in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties because of Hurricane Sally, which could bring heavy rains to the western Panhandle.
Sally isn’t expected to make landfall in Florida, but the system’s track in the Gulf of Mexico has moved a little to the east, bringing more tropical-storm-force winds into the state.
“We do … see a potential for the storm to really slow down and stall out, and that could dump up to 25 inches of rain into those Northwest Florida counties,” DeSantis said.
The National Weather Service had the center of Sally about 105 miles east of the mouth of the Mississippi River, moving about 6 mph to the west-northwest with 100 mph maximum sustained winds.
A storm surge warning was extended Monday afternoon east to the border of Okaloosa and Walton counties, with a hurricane warning extended east to Navarre in Santa Rosa County.
Meanwhile, the hurricane center on Monday was tracking four other named storms in the Atlantic Ocean — Paulette, Rene, Teddy and Vicky. None posed a threat Monday to Florida.
With 20 named systems so far this year, the only remaining unused name on this year’s list is Wilfred.
If the season, which is now in its peak and will continue until the end of November, surpasses 21 names, the list will move to the Greek alphabet, which starts Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta. That has only occurred once before, in 2005, when there were 27 named storms.