Sally makes landfall as Cat. 2 hurricane; FMCSA issues emergency exemptions for drivers providing direct assistance

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Hurricane Sally Satellite Image
This satellite image, taken Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020, at 3 p.m. Eastern time, shows Hurricane Sally moving slowly towards the coast from the Gulf of Mexico. The storm made landfall near Orange Beach, Alabama, as a Category 2 hurricane early Wednesday morning. (NOAA via AP)

GULF SHORES, Ala. — Hurricane Sally made landfall Wednesday, Sept. 16, at 4:45 a.m. Central time near Gulf Shores, Alabama, as a Category 2 with sustained winds up to 105 mph, according to reports from The Weather Channel and other news outlets.

As storm surges and hurricane-force winds pound southeast Alabama and the western Florida Panhandle, heavy rains continue, adding to the significant flash flooding in numerous areas. Rainfall totals could reach 35 inches, resulting in catastrophic flooding near the Gulf Coast. In addition, tornado watches are expected to remain in effect until 6 p.m. local time for parts of Alabama, Florida and Georgia. At the time of this writing, nearly 500,000 homes and businesses have lost power in Alabama and Florida, according to PowerOutage.us.

In response to the storm, the Southern Service Center of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) issued a regional emergency declaration and an exemption from Parts 390 through 399 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs), except as otherwise restricted in the declaration; click here to read the entire declaration.

Because current and anticipated weather conditions create an “immediate threat to human life or public welfare from heavy rains, high surf, flooding and high winds,” according to FMCSA, there is a need for “immediate transportation of supplies, goods, equipment, fuel and persons and provides necessary relief.” The states included in the declaration include Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi.

The emergency declaration and exemptions apply only to motor carriers and drivers who are providing assistance to these states in direct support of relief efforts related to Hurricane/Tropical Storm Sally. “Direct assistance” ends when a motor carrier or driver completes relief efforts and return empty to the carrier terminal or regular reporting location.

The declaration will remain in effect for the duration of the emergency (as defined in 49 CFR § 390.5) or until 11:59 p.m. Eastern time Oct. 14, 2020, whichever occurs first.

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