Alabama Gulf Coast residents were accessing the damage Wednesday morning after Hurricane Sally slammed into the area. The slow-moving Category 2 storm caused severe flooding in some areas and subjected many areas to hurricane force winds for hours. On Dauphin Island in Mobile County, Mayor Jeff Collier says the beachfront community was hit hard.
“We’ve got a mess. Trees down all over the place, power lines," said the Mayor.
"We’ve got a lot of neighborhoods where trees are covering the roads. We can’t get people out of the neighborhoods, a lot of homes with damage. Just all of the above and I haven’t even got to the West End yet to look at the sand and all that situation,” Collier said.
The Mayor said one bright spot is that the road to the island has reopened.
“Which is a miracle. We don’t have power. Power actually went off here yesterday morning at 5 a.m. so we’ve already been out over 24 hours and it’s going to be a lot longer, because we’ve got a lot of problems over here at this time, unfortunately.”
The mayor said that while no injuries have been reported, there were a couple of close calls.
“We had a couple of rescues last night. We had two people in a house that started to tear apart. The roof came off and started to tear apart with wind and they called our emergency response people and they went and got them out. So that was successful, but that was the only issue we had.”
Sally came ashore in Gulf Shores with top sustained winds of 105 miles an hour. One problem was that the storm only moved at 2 or 3 miles an hour, lashing the area for hours, Collier said.
"We had right at hurricane or hurricane force winds probably for a seven or eight hour period and that’s what really did us in, because with all the rain and the flooding, it softened the ground and with the wind pressing on the trees, they just started falling down. We even have a tree on Town Hall,” Collier observed.
The storm also dumped massive amounts of rain on the region. On Dauphin Island, however, in the middle of flooding, the town faced a water shortage.
“Another issue we’ve had this morning, which is quite serious. We have a situation where we have a lot of water breaks. People’s private docks and piers that broke loose and the water lines are now broken and spewing and we’re quickly using up our water supply so they’re trying to head those off as much as possible,” said Collier.
On Wednesday, residents were trying to start the job of cleaning up after Sally and fixing the damage, Collier said.
“Now we’re trying to get our contractor over here to start moving trees out of the roadway. That’s what we’ve got to do now. We’ve got so many trees in the roadways, it’s hazardous. We’ve got power lines hanging down.”
An Alabama Public Radio news feature, which is part of APR effort to address the "news desert" along the state's Gulf coast. APR recruited and trained veteran print journalists in Mobile and Baldwin counties to join our news team to do radio stories from along the Gulf coast.