Two days ago, it appeared Hurricane Sally was on a direct course for New Orleans.
As of Tuesday, it appears that threat has passed, bringing much relief to a state still reeling from the most powerful storm it has ever endured.
“The good news today is with that shifted track, Hurricane Sally will have less of an impact on Louisiana,” Gov. John Bel Edwards told reporters Tuesday afternoon. “Much less of an impact than we suspected 48 hours ago.”
Over the last two days, Hurricane Sally has continued to shift east as it inches its way through the Gulf of Mexico. It is expected to make landfall near the Mississippi-Alabama state line sometime Wednesday.
As of a 1 p.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center, the storm was located about 60 miles east of the mouth of the Mississippi River and 105 miles southwest of Mobile, Alabama.
At the time, it was moving northwest at 2 mph with maximum sustained winds of 80 mph, down from 100 mph the day before when it reached Category 2 strength.
All of the previous rain total and wind speed estimations have decreased for Louisiana. The primary concern now, Edwards said, is flooding in low-lying areas in extreme southeast Louisiana, such as around Grand Isle, due to storm surge.
But considering what weather forecasters predicted as recently as Sunday — and considering what the state experienced with Hurricane Laura — Edwards said he is “thankful” for the “good news.”
“All in all, we’ll take the storm as she is rather than the one that was forecasted a couple of days ago,” Edwards said.
Edwards said the state’s attention is now being directed to helping “our neighbors” in Mississippi and Alabama, who now face the threat of a slow-moving storm that is expected to dump 10 to 20 inches of rainfall, with isolated amounts of 30 inches.
Edwards had already requested and received approval for federal assistance from President Donald Trump, but the assistance won't go to waste, as Edwards plans to reroute the resources to Mississippi.
Some of the federal search and rescue efforts that came to Louisiana have already been redirected to Alabama, Edwards said.
“While we’ve benefitted from the changes over the last 36 hours or so, the states of Mississippi and Alabama did not,” Edwards said. “We’re certainly mindful of that and going to do everything we can to help those two states.”