How Close Was Laura?
After a week of worry! After adrenaline-fueled prep for two back-to-back hurricanes that could have wreaked havoc on Houston…I woke up refreshed this morning, walked to my weather window, and saw…nothing unusual. What happened? I checked my weather gauge. It read 0.00 inches of rain. Max winds since midnight: 3 mph.
It would appear the Houston Area dodged Laura’s silver bullet. But why? According to Harris County Meteorologist, Jeff Linder, two things spared us the wrath of Laura. First, Laura shifted slightly east. Second, as Laura intensified, the wind field pulled in tighter. That diminished feeder bands on the western side of the storm.
How Close Laura Came
Here are some radar and satellite images that show how close the storm came.
The shot above and the radar loop below show dramatically how the storm shifted east last night. The National Hurricane Center had predicted eye of the storm to move up the Sabine River near Port Arthur, about 40 miles west.
6 A.M. Update from NHC
At this instant, Laura has diminished to a Cat 2 storm. An update issued by the NHC at 6:00 a.m. says,
- HURRICANE CONDITIONS SPREADING FARTHER INLAND ACROSS SOUTHWESTERN LOUISIANA…
- CATASTROPHIC STORM SURGE, HURRICANE FORCE WINDS, AND FLASH FLOODING WILL CONTINUE THIS MORNING…
- Fort Polk, Louisiana recently reported a sustained wind of 45 mph (72 km/h) and a wind gust of 70 mph (113 km/h). SUMMARY OF 600 AM CDT…1100 UTC…
- LOCATION…30.9N 93.3W ABOUT 55 MI…90 KM N OF LAKE CHARLES LOUISIANA
- MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS…105 MPH…170 KM/H
- PRESENT MOVEMENT…N OR 355 DEGREES AT 15 MPH…24 KM/H
- MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE…964 MB…28.47 INCHES
After Hurricane Rita, which dodged Houston like Laura, I coined a term called “hurricane guilt.” It’s that feeling of elation you get when you realize the storm missed you…followed closely by the realization that it destroyed innocent lives elsewhere.
That’s what I feel right now. As I write this, the sun is rising and birds are singing. Soon images of Laura’s destruction will start to pour in. Only then will we know how lucky we were.
Posted by Bob Rehak at 6:45 am on 8/27/2020 based on information from NWS, NHC, RadarScope, and Jeff Lindner, Harris County Meteorologist
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