Washington Parish once again dodged a bullet!
UPDATED Tuesday Sept. 15 at 1 p.m.
Washington Parish has once again dodged a bullet as the track for Hurricane Sally continues to move to the east. However, the parish, especially on the eastern side, can still expect to possibly receive winds and rainfall late today and overnight.
Still, the most recent storm track predictions from the National Hurricane Center are a big relief for the parish. As of 1 p.m. Tuesday, the hurricane is expected to make landfall to the south of Mobile, Alabama and continue inland throgh Mobile and into interior Alabama.
Washington Parish has now dodged three named storms in a row during this busy 2020 hurricane season. We dodged Marco and Laura, and now Sally. Hopefully, our luck will continue!
That the track has changed so abruptly to Mobile points out once again how uncertain hurricanes in the Gulf can be. Never let your guard down during hurricane season. Thirty-six short hours ago the people in the Mobile area were feeling sorry for Southeast Louisiana. In a blink of an eye, the target shifted from our area to south Alabama.
(Map above from the National Hutticane Center was released at 1 p.m. Tuesday.)
Parish officials are keeping their eyes on Tropical Storm Sally, which has the potential to impact Washington Parish on Tuesday and Wednesday.
However, the most recent storm tracks are now showing Sally headed further to the east, away from Washington Parish. While the parish will certainly have some winds and heavy rain associated with the storm, things don't look nearly as bad right now as they looked only 24 hours ago.
That's the good news for Washington Parish. The bad news for our friends in South Mississippi is that the storm is expected to strengthen before making landfall and impacting Bay St. Louis, Pass Christian, Gulfport and Biloxi. It is predicted to then head north and deliver strong winds and heavy rainfall to the Hattiesburg area.
Now a Category 1 hurricane, the storm is expected to be a Category 2 when it makes landfall late Tuesday. Sustained winds at landfall are predicted to be 105 mph, just short of Category 3 status.
Even though the predicted track now looks much better, Washington Parish officials are warning residents to stay aware and be prepared for whatever happens. A hurricane or tropical storm can have impacts in a large area, regardless of a predicted track line. As most of us know from the past, it is very difficult for even experienced forecasters to accurately predict exactly what a major storm will do.
Heavy rainfall is probable for the parish, and there could be some flooded areas.. Officials remind everyone to avoid driving through even small amounts of moving water. Just several inches of fast-moving water can push a vehicle off the road and into a flooded stream. "Don't drown --- go around!"
Washington-St/ Tammany Electric Cooperative went on standby Saturday and crews are fully prepared for possible outages during and after the storm.
With flooding from the storm a major concern, Parish President Richard Thomas has released the following sandbag information:
Beginning Sunday, September 13, 2020 at noon For All Residents Located Outside City Limits :
-WPFD #7, 17380 Bill Booty Rd., Bogalusa, LA -Sand and bags are available. Please bring your own shovel.
-Public Works Location #3, 801 Pearl St., Franklinton, LA
-Public Works Location #2, Yacc Rd., Bogalusa, LA (behind Washington Parish Animal Shelter)
For All Residents Located at Varnado / Angie - Varnado Town Hall, 63097 Main St, Varnado, LA Sand and Bags are available. Bring your own shovel. Pre filled bags will be available for those unable to fill their own.
Beginning, Monday, September 14, 2020 at 8:00A.M. ,City of Bogalusa Residents (limit 10/person) -Austin St @ Bayer St -Main St. ballpark -Ave B Sports Complex -Sand and bags are available at each location. Please bring your own shovel.
Beginning, Monday, September 14, 2020 at 7:00A.M,. Town of Franklinton Residents (limit 10/vehicle) -Pre-filled bags are available. -1108 Lenora St., Franklinton, LA
Map shown above from National Hurricane Center shows storm location and track as of 4 am Monday morning.