Amid the storm, it is expected to move near the coast of southeastern Louisiana Tuesday and reach land Tuesday night or Wednesday morning, the hurricane center said.
The storm has subsided as it approaches the Gulf Coast. From the beginning of Tuesday, it traveled west at 3 mph with sustained winds of 90 mph, down from 110 mph on Monday.
Life-threatening storm surge and river flooding are expected along the northern Gulf Coast, with some areas able to see more than 20 inches of rain.
Some coastal communities are already reporting floods.
Katrina survivor prepares for Sally
As the storm approached Monday, Mississippian Mike Taylor prepared by filling and placing sandbags around his house in Long Beach to keep water out.
“Just to prepare. That’s all we can do,” Taylor said.
Taylor said he is not nervous about Hurricane Sally because he believes he has already experienced a worse storm.
His 8-year-old nephew is not so confident. When he helped Taylor fill sandbags, he told CNN he is worried.
“I’m very nervous. The storm comes at night and the wind can blow your house down,” the boy said.
A lifelong Gulf Coast resident 35-year-old Robert Higdon also filled sandbags before the storm’s arrival. He said he is not particularly worried about this hurricane, but knows it is best to “prepare for the unexpected.”
Storms in the Gulf of Mexico can quickly intensify, he said, so he always assumes the hurricane will get a little worse than the official predictions.
“I’d rather be prepared for the unexpected,” Higdon said. “If it’s a Category 2 or less, we’ll just pile it down. A lot of people are willing to drive it out.”
Evacuations ordered along the coast
“Make plans to evacuate low-lying areas,” Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves said in a tweet Monday night. “Emergency carriers are ready to respond. This is the right deal and it deserves your attention.”
“Be smart. Prepare for the worst. Pray for the best,” Reeves said.
Mandatory evacuation has been announced along the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama prior to the storm.
Residents of Plaquemines Parish, St. Charles Parish and parts of Jefferson Parish have been asked to evacuate as floods and storm surges are expected in these areas.
Flights canceled before the storm
Airports in at least two states have announced cancellation of flights due to the storm.
Pensacola International Airport in Florida is closed and Alabama’s Mobile Regional Airport has canceled all flights ahead of Hurricane Sally.
American Airlines reported that it “closely monitors” the hurricane’s tracks and has waived change fees for passengers who choose not to fly due to the storm.
United and Delta also said they will allow passengers to reroute their aircraft due to the hurricane.
CNN’s Michael Guy and Carma Hassan contributed to this report.