Mobile will have a nighttime curfew for a few days as the city works to clear damage from the passage of Hurricane Sally, Mayor Sandy Stimpson announced Wednesday.
Stimpson said he expects the dusk-to-dawn curfew to be in place for two or three days. He and other local leaders expressed relief at a Wednesday morning press conference that the brunt of the storm had missed Mobile County, but encouraged people to stay home as crews work to clear downed trees and restore power.
“All in all the outcome is much better than it would have been had in gone ashore on the Alabama-Mississippi line,” Stimpson said.
“The biggest thing we’re dealing with right now is power outages,” he said. Stimpson said that power crews wouldn’t hit the streets until winds died down to safe levels, but he expected that to happen by mid to late afternoon. He said Alabama Power reported it had 175 crews ready to go into action Wednesday and hundreds more on Thursday.
Alabama Power said via Twitter that as of 10 a.m., about 160,000 customers were without power in the Mobile area.
City crews were already at work clearing trees from roadways, he said. But many traffic signals were out throughout the city.
Stimpson said first responders had a busy night as Sally passed through, with the police department responding to 182 calls and fire-rescue personnel responding to about 250. Stimpson said storm-related challenges included multiple vehicles overturned on the Bayway. “We actually had people stranded on the Bayway that Mobile Police had to lead on the causeway,” he said. Fire-rescue action included 10 technical rescues, he said.
One big positive, he said, was that as the storm shifted to the east it had actually pushed water out of Mobile Bay rather than causing a surge. That meant tributaries didn’t flood.
Stimpson acknowledged that there was a lot of work ahead to restore power and some had suffered significant property damage. “From an overall city perspective, I feel very fortunate that we are where we are,” he said.
County Commissioner Merceria Ludgood said that she had checked in with mayors of smaller municipalities in the county and said that at least in the northern part of the county, the consensus was similar: It could have been worse, and downed trees and power outages were the biggest immediate problem.
Mike Evans, deputy director of the Mobile County EMA, encouraged people to stay off the roads, partly for their own safety and partly so they wouldn’t get into situations that required help.
“If you’re at home and you’re safe and you’re doing okay, please stay there,” he said.