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Trump administration approves Alabama emergency declaration as state braces for Sally

Late Monday, the Trump administration approved Gov. Kay Ivey’s request for an emergency declaration.

Gov. Kay Ivey held an Coronavirus update Press conference Wednesday, July 29, 2020 in Montgomery, Ala. (Governor's Office/Hal Yeager)

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey on Monday requested a pre-landfall emergency declaration for the state of Alabama ahead of Hurricane Sally. Ivey spoke with FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor and Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf asking for this request to be expedited.

“As projections for Hurricane Sally continue to develop, and as Alabama will likely receive significant impact from this system, I have requested a pre-landfall emergency declaration for the state,” Ivey said in a statement. “I just wrapped up a phone call with Acting DHS Secretary Wolf and FEMA Administrator Gaynor and asked them to expedite this request. The White House and Trump Administration have been extremely helpful as we have anticipated a potential hit from Sally. I thank President Trump for being a terrific partner for our state as we make preparations. My fellow Alabamians, please continue heeding all local warnings and stay weather aware.”

Late Monday, the Trump administration approved Ivey’s request.

“As we continue making preparations for Hurricane Sandy to impact Alabama, I thank President Trump and his Administration for approving our request so quickly,” Ivey said early Tuesday. “We will continue closely monitoring the developments today, and I urge everyone in the coastal areas south of I-10 and in low-lying areas to take all precautions and heed advice from weather experts and local officials. Please stay vigilant, Alabama.”

“Hurricane Sally poses a direct threat to coastal Alabama, and everyone needs to take the storm seriously,” said Congressman Bradley Byrne, R-Alabama. “Those in low-lying areas should make plans to leave and seek higher ground as flooding is likely. Governor Ivey has closed Alabama’s beaches effective 3:00 p.m. today. The Governor is also recommending evacuation for those in flood prone areas south of I-10.”

Areas of Alabama’s Gulf Coast could get more than 13 inches of rain with isolates totals of more than 30 inches. Parts of Dauphin Island are already experiencing flooding and water services have been cut. Mayor Jeff Collier is strongly urging residents to follow the governor’s recommendation and evacuate the island.

“South Alabama is facing significant rainfall with #HurricaneSally that will cause dangerous, widespread flooding,” said U.S. Sen. Doug Jones. “If you’re in the region, please ensure you & your family have an emergency plan in place & stay tuned to your local news for updates.”

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Alabama Power announced on Monday that its crews are ready if needed to respond to damage caused by severe weather. Alabama Power is urging customers to prepare for the possibility of more severe tropical weather this week as the company prepares its crews to respond quickly and safely following the storm.

Meteorologists at the Alabama Power-USA Coastal Weather Research Center at the University of South Alabama are providing frequent updates about the storm to Alabama Power and other businesses around the Southeast.

Steve Kirkham, general manager of Power Delivery for Alabama Power’s Mobile Division, says that information helps his team place crews and resources in areas where they can respond safely to storm damage.

“We are fully prepared to respond,” Kirkham said. “We’re going to do that in a safe and effective manner. Our customers can count on the fact that we are going to respond just as quickly as we can safely do so.”

“We have incorporated all of the COVID-19 precautions into our hurricane plans,” Kirkham said. “Even something as simple as onboarding mutual assistance partners — in the past we would have face-to-face meetings to do all of that and now we are doing that in advance remotely.”

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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