Sally's rains wreak havoc on US southeast

Pensacola, Florida experienced up to 1.5m of flooding as Hurricane Sally hit the southeastern US.
Pensacola, Florida experienced up to 1.5m of flooding as Hurricane Sally hit the southeastern US.

The remnants of Hurricane Sally has dumped more than 30cm of rain over the southeastern US, killed at least one person, washed out bridges and roads and left hundreds of thousands without power and others with ruined homes.

Sally brought torrential rains and flash flooding to Alabama and Georgia as it sped toward the Carolinas on Thursday, the US National Hurricane Center said.

Sally struck Gulf Shores, Alabama, early on Wednesday with winds of 169km/h, killing one person. Another person was reported missing.

Some areas were inundated with more than 60cm of rain. Pensacola, Florida, east of landfall, experienced up to 1.5m of flooding, and damaged roads and bridges limited travel across the region. About 433,000 homes and businesses in Alabama, Georgia and Florida remained without power.

In Florida, there have been no deaths but 120 people were rescued by state emergency workers and National Guard members with boats and high water vehicles.

Utilities began restoring power to Alabama and Florida with crews brought from far-flung states.

Sally was the 18th named storm in the Atlantic this year and the eighth of tropical storm of hurricane strength to hit the United States.

A tropical disturbance was brewing in the southern Gulf of Mexico on Thursday that has a 90 per cent chance of becoming a cyclone in the next 48 hours. Two other named storms were in the Atlantic, making this one of the most active Atlantic hurricane seasons on record.

Energy companies were returning Gulf of Mexico offshore oil crews and assessing damages to coastal facilities. Several said their facilities weathered the storm and were preparing to restart.

Australian Associated Press