Hurricane Sally crept toward the northern Gulf Coast on Tuesday as forecasters warned of potentially deadly storm surges and flash floods with the heaviest downpours dumping nearly 2 feet (0.6 meters) of rain.

Forecasters said the storm’s drifting pace made it difficult to predict precisely where the storm’s eye would make landfall.

By late morning Tuesday, hurricane warnings stretched from east of Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, to Navarre, Florida, and forecasters said Sally could reach land near the Alabama-Mississippi state line by late Tuesday or early Wednesday.

Rainfall of up to 20 inches (50 centimeters) was expected near the coast, with a chance the storm could also spawn tornadoes.

The National Hurricane Center predicted storm surge along Alabama’s coast, including Mobile Bay, that could reach 7 feet (2.1 meters) above ground.

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