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Flooding possible this week as Tropical Storm Sally moves through state

Tropical Storm Sally Update

Anniston and surrounding areas can expect heavy rainfall Wednesday and Thursday as the remnants of Tropical Storm Sally swing across Alabama, forecasters say. 

"The main impact we're going to see is the rain," said Daniel Martin, a forecaster for the National Weather Service office in Calera. "That's why we've issued a flash flood watch for later in the week."

Sally gathered strength in the Gulf of Mexico over the weekend and is expected to make landfall as a hurricane Tuesday in Mississippi or Louisiana. The current forecast track has the storm curving eastward into Alabama and crossing the Anniston area as a tropical depression some time Thursday. 

Martin said winds from the storm won't likely be a problem for Calhoun County, with speeds of 25 to 30 miles per hour at most. Hurricanes sometimes spin off tornadoes as they cross land, but Martin said the tornado threat is a bigger problem for the southern part of the state. 

However, current models show the storm dumping heavy rain on the state, including four to six inches for Calhoun County on Wednesday and Thursday, which could lead to flooding. Other parts of the state could see as much as 15 inches of rainfall.

"Anywhere from I-20 south will see the biggest rainfall," Martin said.

Calhoun County Emergency Management Director Michael Barton said Monday that he too believed rain would be the biggest local problem associated with the storm. Even so, the EMA sent out a notice Monday reminding local residents that they should keep on hand enough supplies to handle a power outage lasting several days.

“There will be some wind gusts associated with the system,” he said. “With ground that is moist, some of those gusts could knock down trees and cause electrical outages.”

The central part of the state, including Calhoun County, is under a flash flood watch beginning Tuesday night.

Capitol & statewide reporter Tim Lockette: 256-294-4193. On Twitter @TLockette_Star.