Tropical Storm Sally is currently expected to make landfall along the Gulf Coast as a Category 2 hurricane as the 18th storm of the season continues to pick up speed.
Sally currently sits about 135 miles west of St. Petersburg, Florida, and about 280 miles east-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River with winds up to 60 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center's 11 a.m. update Sunday.
Landfall could come as early as Monday night or Tuesday morning and is expected to bring "life-threatening storm surge, hurricane-force winds and heavy rainfall" to the northern Gulf Coast.
Hurricane warnings are already in place from Morgan City, Louisiana, to Ocean Springs, Mississippi, and in Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Maurepas, which includes metropolitan New Orleans.
Sally is expected to continue moving west-northwestward or northwestward through Monday, then move toward the north-central Gulf Coast. After making landfall, the storm will likely continue moving inland over southeastern Louisiana on Tuesday and Tuesday night.
Up to eight inches of rain is expected in some areas.
New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell announced a mandatory evacuation, which was set to go into place Sunday at 6 p.m. for areas outside the levee protection system.
"Everyone needs to take this very seriously," she said at press conference Saturday afternoon.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has also issued a state of emergency for the region.
"While we ultimately don't know where Sally will make landfall, much of Southeast Louisiana is in the storm's cone and the risk of tropical storm force or hurricane strength winds continues to increase," Edwards said in a statement. "This storm has the potential to be very serious."
Sally is set to make landfall less than three weeks after Hurricane Laura devastated the coast, killing at least 26 people.
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