Washington, Sep 15 (IANS) Tropical storm Sally has strengthened to a Category 2 hurricane as it is moving over the waters of the Gulf of Mexico ahead of making landfall on the US southeast coast on Tuesday.
According to forecast, Sally was slowly moving northwest through the Gulf towards the north-central Gulf coast, continuing to gain power, reports Xinhua news agency.
Forecasters warned that Sally could become a Category 3 major hurricane when making landfall along the coast of Mississipi and Alabama.
Hurricane warnings have been issued for southeast Louisiana and all of the Mississippi and Alabama Gulf coast.
A tropical storm warning extends through much of the Florida Panhandle.
Once expected to be a direct hit on New Orleans, Louisiana, Sally moved east on Monday but could still cause wind damage and power outage in the city, experst said.
On September 12, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency.
Evacuation orders were also issued in southeast areas of the state.
In coastal Louisiana, Grand Isle and St. Charles Parish are under mandatory evacuation orders, and a recommended evacuation notice went out to the community of Port Fourchon.
In New Orleans, Mayor LaToya Cantrell issued a mandatory evacuation order for areas outside of the city’s levee protection system.
The evacuation order will be in effect for the areas of Venetian Isles, Irish Bayou and Lake Catherine.
In Mississippi, Governor Tate Reeves also signed a preliminary state of emergency for the state.
According to the Governor, coastal areas such as Hancock, Harrison, Jackson and Pearl River counties are listed in high risk of significant rainfall.
Sally comes after Laura, a Category 4 hurricane that ravaged coastal Louisiana towns and left residents without power for weeks.