Slow-moving Hurricane Sally carrying a deluge to Gulf Coast

Tropical Storm Sally strengthens in the Gulf, could make landfall as a hurricane near Louisiana and Mississippi

Tropical Storm Sally was officially declared a hurricane on Monday, and is expected to make landfall on Tuesday.

In a 11 a.m. EDT advisory, the National Hurricane Center said storm was located 65 miles north of Bermuda.

Officials say the hurricane will bring over one foot (30cm) of rain and 85mph (135km/h) winds to some areas and will cause potentially deadly storm surges.

Energy companies, ports and refiners on Monday raced to shut down as Hurricane Sally bores in on the central United States Gulf Coast, the second significant hurricane to shutter oil and gas activity over the last month.

Damage from Sally is expected to reach $2 billion to $3 billion, but could exceed that if the storm's heaviest rainfall happens over land instead of in the Gulf, said Chuck Watson of Enki Research, which models and tracks tropical storms.

The second storm in less than a month to threaten the region, Sally was headed toward a slow-motion landfall that could dump damaging rains on the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Sally is expected to reach shore by early Tuesday, bringing unsafe weather conditions, including risk of flooding, to a region stretching from the western Florida Panhandle to southeast Louisiana.

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Paulette was 240 miles southeast of Bermuda on Sunday morning and moving northwest at 14 mph. The NHC said Paulette is expected to be a "dangerous hurricane".

The storm forced energy firms to shut 21.4%, or 395,790 barrels per day (bpd), of offshore crude oil production in the northern Gulf of Mexico, the US government said on Monday. The biggest threats were strong winds, storm surge, up to 6 inches (15 centimeters) of rain and life-threatening surf and rip currents. A weather station in Wreck Road, Bermuda recently reported a sustained wind of 80 miles per hour (130 km/h) and a gust to 107 miles per hour (170 km/h).

Afterwards, Sally is expected to move slowly north-northeastward near the northern Gulf Coast through Wednesday.

The risks can be even greater if storm surge combines with high tide, creating a devastating, rapid rise in water levels. A more easterly landfall would likely bring the heavier rains and damaging winds onto the MS coast, or east of that.

'Vicky is a minimal Tropical Storm which is expected to weaken by Tuesday night.

In eastern New Orleans, drainage canals were lowered in anticipation of torrential rains, Mayor LaToya Cantrell said.

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