The center of the storm is expected to move near the coast in southeast Louisiana on Tuesday and reach land on Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning, the hurricane center said.
The storm has slowed as it approaches the Gulf Coast. As of early Tuesday, it was traveling west at 3 mph, with sustained winds of 90 mph, going from 110 mph on Monday.
Life-threatening storm surges and flash floods are expected on the northern Gulf Coast, where more than 20 inches of rain could fall in some areas.
According to CNN meteorologist Michael Guy, the slow forward movement of the storm means more rain for a longer duration along this region of the Gulf Coast.
Some coastal communities are already reporting floods.
Katrina survivor prepares for Sally
As the storm approached on Monday, Mississippian Mike Taylor prepared to fill and place sandbags around his Long Beach home to keep water out.
“I just have to prepare. That̵
Taylor said he is not nervous about Hurricane Sally because he believes he has already seen a worse storm.
His 8 year old nephew is not that confident. When he was helping Taylor fill sandbags, He told CNN he was concerned.
“I’m very nervous. The storm comes at night and the wind can blow your house,” said the boy.
A life long 35-year-old Robert Higdon, who lives on the Gulf Coast, also filled sandbags before the storm hit. He said he was not particularly concerned about this hurricane but knows that it is best to prepare for the unexpected.
Storms in the Gulf of Mexico can intensify quickly, he said, and he always assumes the hurricane will be a little worse than official projections.
“I’d rather be prepared for the unexpected,” said Higdon. “If it’s Category 2 or below, we just bunker down. Lots of people are willing to ride them out.”
Evacuations arranged along the coast
“Make plans to evacuate low-lying areas,” Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves said in a tweet Monday night. “Emergency operators are ready to respond. This is the real business, and it deserves your attention.”
“Be smart. Prepare for the worst. Pray for the best,” Reeves said.
Prior to the storm, mandatory evacuations were announced along the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
Residents of Plaquemines Parish, St. Charles Parish, and parts of Jefferson Parish have been told to evacuate as floods and storm surges are expected in these areas.
Flights canceled before the storm
Airports in at least two states have announced flight cancellations due to the storm.
Florida Pensacola International Airport is closed and Alabama’s Mobile Regional Airport canceled all flights prior to Hurricane Sally.
American Airlines reported that it is “closely monitoring” the route of the hurricane and waiving change fees for passengers who choose not to fly because of the storm.
United and Delta also said they will allow passengers to reschedule their flights due to the hurricane.
CNN’s Michael Guy and Carma Hassan contributed to this report.