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Dioceses in southern US shut down as Hurricane Sally brings floods

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CNA Staff, Sep 18, 2020 / 02:01 pm MT (CNA).- Dioceses in Florida and Alabama have shut down offices and schools as a large storm has flooded numerous houses and left over half a million people without power.

Hurricane Sally made landfall Sept. 16 near Gulf Shores, Alabama, as a category 2 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 105 mph.

By midday, the hurricane downgraded to a tropical storm with 35mph winds, but its slow progress and large quantities of rain caused large amounts of flooding.

“Catastrophic and life-threatening flooding continues over portions of the Florida Panhandle and southern Alabama,” the National Hurricane Center said.

A majority of the damage has been brought by the large amounts of rain, which has been measured about 18 inches in many regions.

Ginny Cranor, fire chief for Pensacola told CNN that the city has witnessed “four months of rain in four hours.” Pensacola has been hit particularly hard by the rain.

The damages include flooded homes, uprooted trees, and downed power lines. According to poweroutage.us, about 253,000 people in Florida and 290,000 in Alabama are without power.

The storm has also caused at least one death and another person to be missing in the town of Orange Beach, the BBC reported.

The Archdiocese of Mobile closed Catholic Schools in Mobile and Baldwin counties Sept. 15 -18. The Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee closed nine Catholic schools in Escambia, Santa Rosa and Bay Counties Sept. 15-16.

Archbishop Thomas Rodi of Mobile tweeted: “I observed a generations-old tradition: the Archbishop blesses Mobile Bay when a hurricane nears & prayed that Jesus, who calmed the storm, would hear our prayers for protection from Hurricane Sally. On this feast of Our Lady of Sorrows may she wrap her mantle around us.”

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