Hurricane Sally brought raging winds and pouring rain as it cut a path through the Gulf Coast on Wednesday morning, and photos of the new Three Mile Bridge in Pensacola, Florida — or what remains of it — showcase the storm’s destructive power.
“Many of us, we’re beating ourselves up this morning,” Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan said during a press conference.
Weather forecasts had promised a relatively mild battering, he said, but Hurricane Sally hit harder than anticipated.
“I will tell you it’s bad,” Morgan said. “It’s going to take a considerable amount of time to clean up from this.”
Officials weren’t expecting the “devastating effects” they’ve been witnessing.
Chief among those effects: The Three Mile Bridge, a brand new piece of Pensacola infrastructure, had a large section knocked right out of it, Morgan confirmed.
Strong winds toppled a nearby construction crane, the Pensacola News Journal reported, taking out a piece of the bridge as it went.
This was Sally’s second attack on the bridge, the outlet reported. On Tuesday morning winds broke loose a barge, which got lodged beneath the Three Mile Bridge, forcing it to close.
Teams are also working to stop another loose barge from drifting into a different bridge along I-10, the Associated Press reported.
Morgan urged residents to stay home unless they are in immediate danger. Many roadways are impassable, either flooded or washed out, and potentially dangerous.
Hurricane Sally made landfall early Wednesday as a Category 2 hurricane, with sustained winds of 105 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center. The storm was north of Pensacola as of Wednesday afternoon, and is forecast to head through parts of Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina later this week.