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Hurricane Sally weakens to tropical storm, floods US Gulf Coast

PENSACOLA, FLORIDA: Hurricane Sally moved north-east yesterday where it was expected to bring more than a foot, about 30cm deep, of rain to some areas, one day after it flooded streets and knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses on the US Gulf Coast.

Sally made landfall early on Wednesday near Gulf Shores, Alabama, as a Category 2 storm on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale of intensity.

As of late Wednesday, it was moving north at 15kmh after being downgraded to a tropical depression, the US National Hurricane Centre said, with maximum winds of 55kmh.

The storm is believed to have killed one person in Alabama.

Some parts of the coast were inundated with more than 60cm of rain, as the slow-moving storm flooded communities.

The coastal community of Pensacola, Florida, experienced up to 1.5m of flooding, and travel was cut by damaged roads and bridges. More than 570,000 homes and businesses across the area were without power.

Several residents along the Alabama and Florida coasts said damage from the storm caught them off guard. By late Wednesday, the flood waters had started to recede.

"It was just constant rain and wind," said Pensacola resident Preity Patel, 41. "The water drained pretty quickly, thankfully. It is just clean up now." - REUTERS

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