Hurricane Sally strikes Alabama and Florida, moving slowly

(CNN) — Sally downgraded to a tropical storm on Wednesday. As a Category 1 hurricane it hit southern Alabama and northwest Florida after it made landfall Wednesday morning, as a Category 2 hurricane, causing water rescues to be carried out, there were power outages, winds brought down the trees and there was a threat of catastrophic flooding as it proceeds at an agonizing pace.

High-water rescues were carried out Wednesday morning when homes flooded and trees fell on roofs in Gulf Shores, Alabama, city spokesman Grant Brown said.

LOOK: What do the hurricane categories mean?

Hurricane Sally made landfall this morning

Sally made landfall as a Category 2 storm near Gulf Shores around 4:45 am CT with sustained winds of 168 kilometers per hour. At 8 am CT, it degraded, 20 miles from Gulf Shores, with 144-mile-per-hour winds. Later it became a tropical storm.

Hurricane Sally damage Florida Alabama

With the slow pace of Hurricane Sally, typically moving at 3 miles per hour, some areas have already accumulated more than 38 centimeters of rain and could receive as much as 88 centimeters by the end of the storm.

Floods have turned streets into rivers in Pensacola, Florida, Associated Press images show. The dangerous debris fragments “have become too numerous to list,” police warned.

“Nothing is going away anytime soon,” National Hurricane Center director Ken Graham told CNN. “Winds, torrential rains, slow motion and storm surge – this is a dangerous situation everywhere.”

Hurricane Sally hits hard in Alabama 1:55
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