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Marine Debris Program Responds to Hurricane Sally Impacts

OCTOBER 5, 2020 — On September 16, Hurricane Sally made landfall in the early morning hours at Gulf Shores, Alabama, as a strong Category 2 hurricane with sustained wind speeds of 105 mph. The storm battered the Alabama and Florida coastlines for 6+ hours. 

Overhead view of houses on the water, docks and boats.
Post-hurricane Sally aerial damage assessment of debris issues in coastal Alabama. Image credit: Alabama Governor's Office.

Hurricane Sally displaced over 1000 vessels, with almost 500 in Alabama and just over 500 in the western Florida panhandle identified to date. Using FEMA funding for disaster-related debris removals, local communities in Alabama, with support from counties and the state, are moving forward with debris removals. Removal work in Florida may begin in the future. 

NOAA’s Marine Debris Program (MDP) is one of three federal agencies supporting the state debris task force and MDP Gulf of Mexico Regional Coordinator, Caitlin Wessel, is serving as the marine debris subject matter expert. 

The MDP is providing responding agencies, as well as impacted communities in Alabama and Florida, with Marine Debris Emergency Response Guides to help them determine responsible parties for removing various types of debris and best management practices for debris removal from sensitive environments like marshes.

For more information, please contact Caitlin.Wessel@noaa.gov (AL) or Ashley.Hill@noaa.gov (FL).

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Last updated Monday, October 12, 2020 11:23am PDT