Hurricane Sally makes landfall 16 years after Ivan

Hurricane Sally makes landfall 16 years after Ivan

By Madeline Hicks

September 16th, 2004, Category three Hurricane Ivan ravaged the Gulf Coast, leaving significant damage in its wake. 16 years later, Category two Hurricane Sally slammed into near identical areas on the anniversary of Ivan. 

In the Atlantic Ocean just off the coast of South Florida, Hurricane Sally formed on September 12th, marking the 18th Tropical Storm formation in the 2020 hurricane season. Sally shifted to a Category 1 hurricane one day after formation. 

As Ivan’s 16th anniversary neared closer, the path of sally became more and more unclear. The storm moved slowly across the ocean at approximately three mph and took a winding and snakelike path. 

Meteorologists finally landed on the Mississippi-Louisiana border after the series of winding turns finally concluded. However, Hurricane Sally took a sharp turn East at the last second. Sally turned to face the Alabama-Florida border, eliminating the hurricane warnings for Louisiana and enforcing them from east of Bay St. Louis, Miss. to Navarre, Fla. 

Along with the changing paths, also came fluctuating categories. Sally downgraded from a cat 3 to a cat 1 up until hours before landfall. 

As the clock struck midnight on the night before Ivan’s anniversary, Sally upgraded to a Category two storm with wind gusts up to 100 mph. From there, Sally slowed to a walking pace of two mph. 

The bands surrounding Hurricane Sally lashed at the coastlines for over 24 hours, causing life-threatening storm surges as it stalled over the ocean

Hurricane Sally finally made landfall in Gulf Shores, Alabama in the early morning hours of September 16th, aligning with the area of Hurricane Ivan. As Sally moved through Pensacola, approximately six feet of rain were dumped on the streets; the downpour earned Pensacola the title of the third highest recorded storm surge. 

Photo by Rich Thomas via