Hurricane Sally makes landfall on Gulf Coast, downgraded to tropical storm

The storm made landfall on the Gulf Coast with winds of up to 105 miles per hour. Hundreds of homes were damaged or flooded and more than half a million people lost power across the region.
5:09 | 09/16/20

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Transcript for Hurricane Sally makes landfall on Gulf Coast, downgraded to tropical storm
Good evening and it's great to have you with us here on a Wednesday night. We have a lot to get to tonight. The claim made by the president just before we came on the air tonight about the CDC director, saying the director is confused on vaccines and timing. But we begin tonight with the hurricane slamming the U.S. At 105 miles per hour. And tonight, they are warning catastrophic and life-threatening flooding could come next. Hurricane Sally slamming ashore just before dawn near gulf shores, Alabama, as a category 2 hurricane. The view tonight from a porch in navar, Florida, the wind and rain hammering the coast for hours. Winds ripping the top of this building off in gulf shores, Alabama. And sheering away the walls of this apartment building. You can see the rooms exposed on the outside. Downed power lines tonight and flooded streets in Pensacola, Florida. And downtown Pensacola under several feet of water. First responders rescuing a woman trapped inside her home in mobile, Alabama. And tonight, there have been hundreds of water rescues in Florida. Warnings and watches at this hour, from Florida up through Virginia now. And senior meteorologist rob Marciano leads us off from Pensacola tonight. Reporter: Tonight, Sally's landfall on the gulf coast bringing wind blown devastation, and a seemingly never ending deluge. We're getting it now. Really, this thing's been moving so slowly. We've been getting it like this for a good six hours. Sally made landfall before dawn, as a powerful category 2 hurricane with winds up to 105 miles per hour. The wind has just been relentless here in downtown Pensacola. This is main street and it's just nuking white caps with this storm surge. Debris, traffic lights, littering this street. Watch as this tractor trailer tips over on interstate 10 above mobile bay. And part of the Pensacola bay bridge now torn away. The powerful surf sending this barge right into someone's backyard. In mobile, more than 300 firefighters on duty, going house by damaged house, cutting through trees to reach those trapped. This woman, now save, giving praise as she was taken to an ambulance. And in escambia county, Florida, more than 150 people rescued from one neighborhood alone. We anticipate the evacuations could literally be in the thousands. We're in chest-deep water. Reporter: Civilian samaritans joining the effort in Santa Rosa county. And in Pensacola, we meet the mccords, thankful that they didn't get hurt. You rode it out all night long Oh, yeah. Reporter: Did you hear that tree come down? Yes. Reporter: What did that feel like? Scary. Reporter: I'll bet. Across the region, more than half a million losing power. And while more than five feet of storm surge was rushing into Pensacola, our ginger zee seeing the reverse. Right now, I am walking on mobile bay, right at the head of the dog river. This was full of water yesterday, but when the winds shifted to the north-northeast, the bay pushed back into the ocean on the backside of Sally. Reporter: Back in Pensacola, destruction everywhere you look. I mean, just look at the sheer damage of this building. The whole second half ripped to the ground. Reporter: In gulf shores, Alabama, where Sally's eye crossed ashore, new drone video shows the back of this ten-story apartment building completely sheared off. You can see the bedrooms, sheets and curtains blowing in the breeze. Thankfully, it does not appear that anyone was inside during the storm. And we're thankful to report, so far, there are no fatalities with hurricane Sally. But the winds and the waves were so powerful for so long, they broke several of these construction barges away. Some of which ran aground, like this one. Nearly climbing up onto the sidewalk. That bridge in the distance is damaged. It's now closed until further notice. All right, rob Marciano leading us off tonight. Thank you, rob, and to the whole crew there. And of course, there are warnings and watches from Florida up through Virginia now. Let's get right to ginger zee, also in the storm zone, in Alabama tonight. Ginger? Reporter: We drove from Orange beach to gulf shores to right here in mobile, Alabama, and David, you have to see this damage behind me. That is a church steeple that is dangling precariously there from the church. We have 82-mile-per-hour winds here in mobile and that's what did that. There are still winds with this storm, anywhere from Troy, back to Dawson, Georgia. You are getting the hefty bands. There's a tornado watch and a flash flood emergency. If you are in a flash flood warning, do not get in the car. That's how you survive the rest of Sally. Let's time it out and talk about where this thing is going. It's going to move through Georgia tomorrow and then through Friday, we'll see south Carolina and North Carolina. Timing-wise, it is going to bring an inch per hour rainfall rate. So, Montgomery, over to Macon, Atlanta tomorrow morning early and then it will move into south Carolina and North Carolina. David, it's really important to realize that even up to Norfolk, we are under flash flood watch because we could see anywhere from four to even six inches, a half of foot of rain still possible that far north from All right, we appreciate the alert tonight. Ginger, thank you, as well.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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