Hurricane Sally battered the Gulf Coast of Alabama and the Florida Panhandle on Wednesday with 100 mph winds, two and a half feet of rain and a surge of seawater. At least two people in Alabama and Georgia were killed.
Only remnants of the storm are left now, but it’s still enough to deluge parts of Georgia and the Carolinas. Heavy rains are expected to wreak havoc from Virginia to North Carolina throughout the night before the storm moves out over the Atlantic, and the Florida Panhandle and south Alabama were facing the possibility of even more misery due to swollen rivers a day after the storm blew ashore.
As of Thursday afternoon, more than half a million people across Alabama, Georgia, Florida and Louisiana were without power, according to poweroutage.us.
Flying above the region with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, CBS News saw how much devastation the hurricane left behind. One bridge in Pensacola, Florida, is missing two large sections, likely because barges came loose and smashed into it. Roofs have been peeled away, boats are scattered, and some areas are cut off by downed trees or heavy flooding.
David Middleton, who opened his auto parts store 33 years ago in Robertsdale, Alabama, said his business lost its storefront.
“I started getting calls around six this morning from friends and customers saying the shop’s bad, took the roof off,” Middleton told CBS New Orleans affiliate WWL. “We actually had to chain saw our way to get here.”
“I can’t comprehend the damage it’s done.”
Richard Franzen wasn’t just upset about his flooded home. “I am a veteran and I have a memorial back there,” he said through tears. “It’s underwater. I lost some of my friends in Vietnam, but it’s gone.”