MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) -- The City of Mobile and Mobile County officials are on high alert as Hurricane Sally moves closer to the Gulf Coast.
With Sally expected to dump a lot of rain on the Mobile area -- long lines could be seen Monday at the gas pumps, where people were topping off their tanks ahead of the storm.
"I knew I wanted to go ahead a fill up because it might get a little bad and I might have to move out of town," said one man.
The City of Mobile now under a "Level 3 Alert" -- the highest status according to Mayor Sandy Stimpson as slow-moving Sally takes aim on the Port City.
"So that means we're taking this very, very seriously -- as you have watched over the last several hours -- it seems the storm may be drifting in our direction," said Mayor Stimpson.
Like the gas stations - local grocery stores were slammed. Even though they were stocked up for Hurricane Marco -- we met two ladies who returned to get more.
"We were already prepared -- so we decided to get more this time to be prepared because the rain is going to stay for about 3 or 4 days and we are not going to get out," said one woman.
The Mobile County Commission echoing the City -- warning residents to not underestimate Sally.
Merceria ludgood/mobile county commissioner:
"Please do whatever is asked of you -- when first responders have to get out to rescue people and bring them out of unsafe conditions, when it is very late in the event -- that puts their lives in danger too," said Merceria Ludgood, Mobile County Commissioner District 1.
And just as downtown businesses prepare for the worst case scenario -- Mobile County EMA recommend it may be time to leave for families living in low-lying areas.
"First thing about Hurricane Sally that everybody in this room and everybody watching should understand -- is there is a lot of uncertainty," said Mike Evans, Mobile County EMA Deputy Director. "Anybody that lives in the surge areas, the flood-prone areas, and manufactured homes -- or somewhere they don't feel comfortable -- now's the time for them to think about evacuating to somewhere."
Meanwhile, even though Mobile County has opened a shelter at Theodore High School -- they're urging people who want to evacuate to go to a family member's home a safe distance away -- because they're still trying to manage COVID-19 and want to limit the number people at the shelter. They also say they have a back up shelter if needed.