More than 150,000 people are already without power along the Gulf Coast, and thousands have been evacuated before the storm.
Satellite images of Sally indicate eye reform early Wednesday, which is another sign of strengthening, CNN meteorologist Michael Guy said.
Precipitation of 1
The slow-moving nature of the storm also means that hurricane force winds and storm surges will be in the area longer, especially east of the storm center.
Flash floods with rainfall of 6 to 10 inches could be seen in Georgia and the Carolinas later in the week as the storm moves into the country and weakens.
Widespread power outages and water repairs delayed
Those who are on the road for Sally are also experiencing water outages as conditions are unsafe to carry out repairs by utilities due to the storm.
The Escambia County Utilities Authority issued a warning Tuesday that they are unable to respond to a significant water breach in Pensacola Beach due to storm conditions and closures of the bridge in front of Sally.
The water system had to be closed at 23:00, as storm surges and tidal levels also flood the sewer collection system according to ECUA.
“We urge residents still on Pensacola Beach to store water if possible. ECUA will send crews to find the break and make repairs as soon as possible after the storm,” the statement said.
Businesses are closing and military bases are restricting access
Companies are also closing because of the storm, with Walmart announcing 54 closures due to Sally, Walmart spokesman Scott Pope told CNN on Tuesday.
“We are tracking the storm in real time and have activated our Emergency Operations Center to support our staff in the affected areas,” the pope said.
Across the Gulf Coast, three military installations have announced that only mission-intensive personnel will report to work on Wednesday.
The installations are Naval Air Station Pensacola in Escambia County, Florida, Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi and Eglin Air Force Base in Pensacola.
Keeslar is home to the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, often referred to as “Hurricane Hunters.”
Residents are evacuating and preparing
Mandatory evacuation has been ordered for large parts of the coast and low-lying areas from Mississippi to Florida. Shelters have been opened to accommodate these evacuees.
People have been preparing for Sally since the weekend, filling sandbags, getting supplies and getting their homes ready.
Merrill Warren from Summerdale, Alabama, located approx. 16 miles inland from the Gulf, CNN reported he brought in furniture, bought gas and other supplies and made his generator ready for the storm.
On Tuesday night, he reported that heavy rain and winds up to 39 mph had already hit inland. Warren said he is more concerned about the potential for increased rain and waves than anything else.
“This is not the first Category 1 hurricane I’ve been through. I’ve been there through Hurricane Nate and Tropical Storm Gordon,” Warren said. “I’m more worried about the rain for this … The rain and storms will certainly be the biggest problem with a storm moving at 2 mph.”
CNN’s Devon Sayers, Joe Sutton, Sharif Paget, Micahel Guy, Dave Hennen, Rebekah Riess, Kay Jones and Amanda Jackson contributed to this report.