Hurricane Sally uprooted trees, flooded streets and cut power to hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses on Wednesday as it brought what the United States National Hurricane Centre (NHC) called “historic and catastrophic” flooding to the Alabama-Florida coast.
Sally, which made landfall early on Wednesday near Gulf Shores, Alabama, as a Category 2 storm, was downgraded in the afternoon to a tropical storm as maximum sustained winds dropped to 70 miles per hour (113kph).
The storm is believed to have killed one person in Alabama.
“We had a body wash up, we believe it was hurricane related, but we have no definitive proof of that right now,” said Trent Johnson, a police lieutenant in Orange Beach, Alabama. The person was local to the area, but has not yet been publicly identified, Mr Johnson said.
Some parts of the Gulf Coast had been inundated with more than 18 inches (46cm) of rain over the previous 24 hours, with more precipitation expected as the storm’s winds slow further, the NHC said.
The coastal community of Pensacola, Florida, suffered up to five feet of flooding, and travel was cut by damaged roads and bridges. More than 500,000 homes and businesses across the area were without power as the storm knocked over stately oak trees and tore power lines from poles.
Several residents along the Alabama and Florida coasts said damage from the slow-moving storm caught them off guard.