NHC: Tropical Storm Sally Strengthens to Hurricane

Update 4:00 pm EST: Louisiana and Mississippi residents were under evacuation orders on Monday as Hurricane Sally churned across the Gulf of Mexico, strengthening to a hurricane ahead of expected landfall on Tuesday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

The second storm in less than a month to threaten the region, Sally was headed toward a slow-motion landfall that could dump damaging rains on the U.S. Gulf Coast. Residents from Louisiana to Florida were told to also expect storm surge and high winds.

Sally is the 18th named storm in the Atlantic this year and will be the eighth of tropical storm or hurricane strength to hit the United States – something “very rare if not a record” said Dan Kottlowski, senior meteorologist at AccuWeather. Accurate data on historic tropical storms can be elusive.

Mississippi and Louisiana issued mandatory evacuation orders to residents of low-lying areas while Mississippi ordered its coastal casinos to close by late Monday afternoon.

“We are going to bear the brunt of this storm,” Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves told residents on Monday, warning that rainfall along the coast could exceed 20 inches (50.8 cm).

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards appealed for a federal disaster declaration and advised people living in Sally’s path to flee.

“We have to make sure that everything is tied down and out of the way so it doesn’t float away or become airborne,” said Steve Forstall, a Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, port employee.

In the coastal town, located roughly 50 miles (80 km) northeast of New Orleans, water from the bay was spilling onto the beach roadway early on Monday. Workers were seen boarding up homes and securing items like trash cans that can become projectiles in high winds. Residents helped each other fill sandbags at a do-it-yourself station, and some people parked cars and boats on higher ground, anticipating flooded roads.

The U.S. Coast Guard was limiting traffic from the Port of New Orleans, while energy companies slowed or cut refinery output and scrambled to pull workers from offshore oil and gas production platforms.

At 1 p.m. CDT (1800 GMT), Sally was 125 miles (210 km) east-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River, packing sustained winds of 90 miles (145 km) per hour, according to the NHC.

The storm will approach southeastern Louisiana on Monday night but not make landfall until sometime on Tuesday, the NHC said. Its slow movement is expected to dump 8 to 16 inches (20 to 40 cm) on the coast and cause widespread river flooding.

An expected turn to the north is “going to be critical for the New Orleans area,” said Jim Foerster, chief meteorologist at DTN, an energy, agriculture and weather data provider. Mississippi appears more likely for landfall, but Sally’s biggest threat is that it will be a “rainmaker” across a wide swath of the Gulf Coast and drop much as 3 to 4 inches (7.62 to 10.2 cm) in areas as far inland as Atlanta, Foerster said.

Residents of southwestern Louisiana are still clearing debris and tens of thousands of homes are without power after Hurricane Laura left a trail of destruction. Sally’s path remains east of that hard-hit area.

Damage from Sally is expected to reach $2 billion to $3 billion, but could exceed that if the storm’s heaviest rainfall happens over land instead of in the Gulf, said Chuck Watson of Enki Research, which models and tracks tropical storms.

(Additional reporting by Catherine Koppel and Jonathan Bachman in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi; Editing by Dan Grebler and Timothy Gardner)

Data Year: 2019
State/Territory: Mississippi
Line of Business: Homeowners Mult Peril
Source: AM Best
Direct Market
Overall Premiums Share
Rank Written (DPW)
(DPW) Company Name ($000) (%)
1 State Farm Group 267,334 26.09
2 Southern Farm Bureau Casualty Group 160,754 15.69
3 Allstate Insurance Group 84,809 8.28
4 Nationwide Group 73,064 7.13
5 Liberty Mutual Insurance Companies 72,961 7.12
6 USAA Group 49,237 4.81
7 Farmers Insurance Group 37,079 3.62
8 Alfa Insurance Group 36,851 3.60
9 Shelter Insurance Companies 29,938 2.92
10 Travelers Group 26,161 2.55
11 MetLife Auto & Home Group 23,486 2.29
12 State Auto Insurance Companies 21,179 2.07
13 Progressive Insurance Group 21,148 2.06
14 Assurant P&C Group 16,273 1.59
15 Coastal American Insurance Company 13,471 1.31
16 Munich-American Holding Corp Companies 11,870 1.16
17 American International Group 8,076 0.79
18 Chubb INA Group 7,984 0.78
19 Centauri Insurance Group 7,804 0.76
20 QBE North America Insurance Group 5,868 0.57
21 Hartford Insurance Group 5,583 0.55
22 Tokio Marine US PC Group 5,305 0.52
23 American Family Insurance Group 4,452 0.43
24 Markel Corporation Group 4,323 0.42
25 American National Prop & Cas Group 4,229 0.41
26 National Security Group 3,588 0.35
27 Auto Club Enterprises Insurance Group 3,430 0.33
28 IAT Insurance Group 3,376 0.33
29 Gulfstream Insurance Group 2,147 0.21
30 AmTrust Group 2,000 0.20
Selection Total 1,013,780 98.95
Total US PC Industry 1,024,524 100.00
Data Year: 2019
State/Territory: Mississippi
Line of Business: Private Flood
Source: AM Best
Direct Market
Overall Premiums Share
Rank Written (DPW)
(DPW) Company Name ($000) (%)
1 Assurant P&C Group 879 22.36
2 Zurich Insurance US PC Group 521 13.25
3 Arch Insurance Group 506 12.89
4 Liberty Mutual Insurance Companies 362 9.21
5 Swiss Reinsurance Group 335 8.52
6 American International Group 257 6.53
7 Allianz US PC Insurance Companies 247 6.28
8 XL Reinsurance America Group 233 5.92
9 Alleghany Corporation Group 187 4.76
10 National General Companies 164 4.17
11 Markel Corporation Group 73 1.87
12 Berkshire Hathaway Insurance Group 54 1.37
13 Sompo Holdings US Group 49 1.25
14 Tokio Marine US PC Group 46 1.18
15 Bankers Financial Group 16 0.41
16 CNA Insurance Companies 2 0.05
Selection Total 3,931 100.03
Total US PC Industry (Mississippi) 3,930 100.00
Data Year: 2019
State/Territory: Mississippi
Line of Business: Federal Flood
Source: AM Best
Direct Market
Overall Premiums Share
Rank Written (DPW)
(DPW) Company Name ($000) (%)
1 Wright National Flood Insurance Company 10,913 30.07
2 Assurant P&C Group 7,810 21.52
3 Selective Insurance Group 5,065 13.95
4 Allstate Insurance Group 3,411 9.40
5 Southern Farm Bureau Casualty Group 2,305 6.35
6 Hartford Insurance Group 2,111 5.82
7 USAA Group 1,427 3.93
8 MetLife Auto & Home Group 915 2.52
9 Farmers Insurance Group 610 1.68
10 National General Companies 405 1.12
11 Progressive Insurance Group 242 0.67
12 QBE North America Insurance Group 241 0.66
13 American Family Insurance Group 201 0.55
14 Tokio Marine US PC Group 147 0.41
15 IAT Insurance Group 123 0.34
16 Westfield Group 110 0.30
17 Liberty Mutual Insurance Companies 94 0.26
18 Gulfstream Insurance Group 77 0.21
19 Centauri Insurance Group 41 0.11
20 American National Prop & Cas Group 27 0.08
21 Bankers Financial Group 26 0.07
22 First American PC Companies 3 0.01
Selection Total 36,304 100.03
Total US PC Industry (Mississippi) 36,294 100.00
Data Year: 2019
State/Territory: Mississippi
Line of Business: Commercial Multiperil (Non-Liability)
Source: AM Best
Direct Market
Overall Premiums Share
Rank Written (DPW)
(DPW) Company Name ($000) (%)
1 Travelers Group 29,748 12.18
2 Nationwide Group 21,798 8.92
3 State Farm Group 16,355 6.69
4 Hartford Insurance Group 11,151 4.56
5 W. R. Berkley Insurance Group 10,709 4.38
6 Chubb INA Group 10,145 4.15
7 Liberty Mutual Insurance Companies 8,824 3.61
8 Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company 8,587 3.51
9 Southern Farm Bureau Casualty Group 8,097 3.31
10 Tokio Marine US PC Group 8,041 3.29
11 State Auto Insurance Companies 7,992 3.27
12 Zurich Insurance US PC Group 7,844 3.21
13 FCCI Insurance Group 7,317 2.99
14 GuideOne Insurance Companies 7,261 2.97
15 Church Mutual Insurance Group 6,863 2.81
16 American International Group 6,021 2.46
17 Markel Corporation Group 5,902 2.42
18 FM Global Group 4,834 1.98
19 Alfa Insurance Group 4,711 1.93
20 Allianz US PC Insurance Companies 4,639 1.90
21 Allstate Insurance Group 4,611 1.89
22 CNA Insurance Companies 4,540 1.86
23 Munich-American Holding Corp Companies 3,194 1.31
24 Berkshire Hathaway Insurance Group 2,564 1.05
25 Global Indemnity Group 2,329 0.95
26 National General Companies 2,221 0.91
27 EMC Insurance Companies 2,156 0.88
28 RLI Group 2,113 0.86
29 Fairfax Financial (USA) Group 1,888 0.77
30 Great American P & C Insurance Group 1,824 0.75
Selection Total 224,279 91.79
Total US PC Industry (Mississippi) 244,334 100.00

(Reporting by Jennifer Hiller and Gary McWilliams; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)