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PHOTOS: Hurricane Sally Transforms Popular Panhandle Towns

You won’t recognize these normally-idyllic locales.

Hurricane Sally has arrived in the southeastern United States, not with a bang, but with a deluge.

This isn’t the sort of hurricane that batters buildings and uproots whole swaths of cypress trees.  No, this is a soaker; a storm that will sit and churn and spit out precipitation for days on end.

This is indeed a “rain event”, not a “wind event”, as the newspeople like to chatter on about…and she’s going to be around for awhile. 

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Moving at an agonizing 3 mph, or about as fast as a person can walk, the storm made landfall at 4:45 a.m. close to Gulf Shores, Alabama, battering the metropolitan areas of Mobile, Alabama, and Pensacola, Florida, which have a combined population of almost 1 million.

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Emergency crews plucked people from flooded homes. In Escambia County, which includes Pensacola, more than 40 were rescued, including a family of four found in a tree, Sheriff David Morgan said.

He estimated thousands more will need to flee rising waters in the coming days. County officials urged residents to stick to text messages for contacting family and friends to keep cellphone service open for 911 calls.

“There are entire communities that we’re going to have to evacuate,” Morgan said. “It’s going to be a tremendous operation over the next several days.”

Twitter users were sharing some harrowing images as well.

Sally is expected to pick up some speed as she heads to the northeast, threatening to bring several inches of rain to Alabama, Georgia, and the Carolinas.

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