New Orleans-Hurricane Sally barrelled into the US Gulf Coast early Wednesday, with forecasts of drenching rains that could provoke “historic” and potentially deadly flash floods.

 The National Hurricane Center (NHC) said the Category 2 storm hit Gulf Shores, Alabama at about 4:45 am (0945 GMT), bringing maximum sustained winds of about 105 miles (165 kilometers) per hour. “Historic life-threatening flooding likely along portions of the northern Gulf coast,” the Miami-based center had warned late Tuesday.