Businesses and residents along the U.S. Gulf Coast were bracing for the impact of the second hurricane in less than a month on Monday as Hurricane Sally wound up for a dangerous pitch of storm surge and flooding along the coastlines of southeast Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.
Officials at the Port of New Orleans spent the day closing down various services ahead of Hurricane Sally’s arrival, shuttering its container terminal and breakbulk operations by mid-day Monday.
The supply chain disruption arrives even as parts of that region are still settling back to normal after evacuating ahead of high winds when Hurricane Laura came ashore on August 26, prompting oil refineries to shut down and shippers to move their inventory far inland. That storm arrived right on the coattails of Tropical Storm Marco, which had soaked the same area just days earlier. Earlier in August, Hurricane Isaias raked the mid-Atlantic and East Coast regions with high winds, causing extended power outages.
The latest storm now threatens to incur life-threatening flash floods throughout the region as soon as Monday night, according to the National Hurricane Center, which warned that it could not predict exactly where the storm would strike. However, preparations for the storm were complicated by the presence of four other named storms also brewing in the Atlantic, close on Hurricane Laura’s heels. They include Hurricane Paulette—which walloped Bermuda on Sunday—as well as Tropical Depression Rene, Tropical Storm Teddy, and Tropical Storm Vicky.
Together, that rapid succession of storms has already marked 2020 as one of the busiest hurricane seasons in decades, with nearly two months still remaining for additional weather. One relief organization tracking Hurricane Sally is the American Logistics Aid Network (ALAN), which coordinates disaster response efforts after major events. The non-profit group is in the midst of a hectic year, as it organizes logistics needs for challenges including the swarm of hurricanes, the Covid-19 pandemic, and the West Coast wildfires now scorching California and Oregon.
1 PM CDT 9/14 #Sally Update: Hurricane #Sally continues meandering over the north-central Gulf of Mexico. Additional strengthening is forecast during the next day or so before it makes landfall along the north-central Gulf Coast on Tue or Tue night. https://t.co/tW4KeFW0gB pic.twitter.com/8oPmhptnIV— National Hurricane Center (@NHC_Atlantic) September 14, 2020