Alabama’s rural electric cooperatives are keeping a close eye on Hurricane Sally, which is forecast to bring dangerous storm surge, hurricane-force winds and flash flooding along the Gulf Coast and northward as it sweeps across Alabama, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Fourteen Alabama co-ops had already been working in rotation for the past two weeks, helping restore power to members of Beauregard Electric Cooperative, Inc. (BECi) in DeRidder, Louisiana, since Hurricane Laura made landfall Aug. 27. That storm caused a system-wide outage that knocked out electricity to more than 1 million people, including all 43,000 members of BECi.
Those crews will be returning to Alabama Tuesday and Wednesday to prepare for expected widespread outages caused by Hurricane Sally.
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey ordered Alabama’s beaches closed as of 3 p.m.Monday and coastal residents were urged to evacuate if possible. “Hurricane Sally is not to be taken for granted,” Ivey said at a news conference Tuesday morning. “We are looking at record flooding.”
Sally is now projected to make landfall in the vicinity of Mobile Bay early Wednesday morning, then move slowly northeast and east, bringing the center of the storm across central and south Alabama, according to meteorologists.
Alabama’s 22 rural electric cooperatives deliver power to more than 1 million people, or a quarter of the state’s population, and they maintain more than 71,000 miles of power line.