Tropical Storm Sally expected to hit New Orleans as Category 2 hurricane

Tropical Storm Sally is still growing and could hit the US near New Orleans late Monday as a “life-threatening” Category 2 hurricane, officials have warned.

“Sally is likely to produce life-threatening storm surge, hurricane-force winds and flash flooding along the northern Gulf Coast starting late today,” the National Hurricane Center warned early Monday.

“Right now we have it at a strong Category 1, but we’re trying to message people to prepare for a Category 2,” National Weather Service meteorologist Mike Efferson told the Wall Street Journal.

Hurricane warnings have now been issued from Morgan City, Louisiana, east to Ocean Springs, Mississippi, including New Orleans, Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Maurepas, CNN noted.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency Saturday, and officials in the New Orleans area issued a mandatory evacuation order for areas outside of levee protection.

“I know for a lot of people this storm seemed to come out of nowhere,” Edwards said. “We need everybody to pay attention to this storm. Let’s take this one seriously.”

The threat is terrifying an area that was devastated in 2005 with Hurricane Katrina.

“I mean, after Katrina, anything around here and anything on the water, you’re going to take serious,” Jeffrey Gagnard, a resident of Chalmette, Louisiana, said as he evacuated his family.

Another resident, Chris Yandle, plans to bunker down with his family of four and their dog in Mandeville, a city about 35 miles north of New Orleans — but admitted he is alarmed.

“I’ve lived through many hurricanes growing up in Louisiana, but I haven’t felt this anxious about a hurricane in my life,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mississippi man Joey Chauvin was trying to tie down all his possessions in Waveland before evacuating — having already been damaged by Tropical Storm Cristobal earlier this summer.

“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.”

This isn’t the only storm in the Atlantic basin.

Paulette gained hurricane status late Saturday and was expected to bring storm surge, coastal flooding and high winds to Bermuda, while Rene — once a tropical storm — was forecast to become a remnant low Monday.

Tropical Depression Twenty strengthened into Tropical Storm Teddy on Monday morning, and was expected to become a hurricane later in the week, forecasters said.

In addition, Tropical Depression Twenty-One formed Monday in the eastern portion of the Atlantic Ocean.

With Post wires

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