Tag Archive for: Hurricane Laura

Hurricane Delta Tracking East; Back up to Cat 3, But Houston Out of Cone

As of 4 PM Thursday, Delta has restrengthened into a category 3 hurricane with winds of 115 mph. One day before Delta makes landfall, it now appears that once again, the Lake Houston Area will miss the brunt of a vicious storm. Unfortunately, for the poor folks in Louisiana, it appears that Delta will take the same track that Laura did last month and ravage them once again.

At its 4 PM Thursday update, the National Hurricane Center shows Delta in the middle of the Gulf and headed toward Louisiana with maximum sustained winds near 115 mph.

Warnings from Sargent, TX East

Folks east of High Island, TX remain under a hurricane warning. Those between Sargent, TX and High Island are under a tropical storm warning. A storm surge warning remains in effect for everyone between High Island and Mississippi.

Warnings mean that conditions are expected within the warning area, usually within 36 hours.

Projected Track; Tropical Storm Force Winds Extend Out 160 miles

Forecast models are now strongly in agreement on the projected track. That still doesn’t mean the Lake Houston Area is in the clear. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 35 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 160 miles, according to Harris County Meteorologist Jeff Lindner.

Here’s what Weather Live predicts the footprint of the storm will look like Friday morning at 7 AM. That blue dot represents Kingwood.

Lake Houston Area Impacts

NHC now predicts we have a 60-70% chance of experiencing tropical-storm-force winds.

They most likely will arrive tomorrow morning around 8 A.M. Delta is moving NNW at around 15 miles per hour. According to Lindner, “Tropical storm force winds will be possible in the TS warning area, although this will be heavily dependent on the expansion of the wind field. Chambers and southern Liberty Counties have the greater risk of sustained tropical storm force winds. We could see sustained tropical storm force winds in and around Galveston Bay on Friday and over southeast Harris, Galveston, and coastal Brazoria Counties.

NHC predicts the storm will weaken into a tropical depression within 36 hours after coming ashore.

Expected Rainfall

The eastern part of Houston could see anywhere between one and four inches of rain, with the higher totals farther east. Louisiana will likely see 6-10 inches.

Still, there is only a marginal (<5%) to slight (<10%) risk of flash flooding.

Storm Surge Warnings

One of the most serious threats: storm surge. NHC predicts water up to 11 feet above ground in the area around Vermillion Bay.

Posted By Bob Rehak on 10/8/2020 at 5:15 PM based on data from NHC and HCFCD

1136 Days after Hurricane Harvey and 385 Days after Imelda

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.

From Weather Live App at 5:55 am Thursday 8/27/2020
From the National Hurricane Center at 5:56 am. Houston is the bright spot on the SW side of the swirl.
From the National Weather Service at 1:53 CDT as Laura came ashore.
From Lake Charles Louisiana radar at 12:46 am CDT. (This and following images from RadarScope Pro app.)

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.

Radar Loop showing Laura coming onshore that started at 11:28pm 8/26/2020.
Little Rock, Arkansas radar at 5:41 am CDT as Laura approaches

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,

  • 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…

Hurricane Guilt

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

1094 Days since Hurricane Harvey

As of 1 p.m., Laura Now Category 4 Hurricane, Moving at 16 mph

Based on recent Hurricane Hunter aircraft measurements, the National Hurricane Center reported at 1 p.m. that Hurricane Laura’s maximum sustained winds have increased to near 140 mph with higher gusts. Laura is an extremely dangerous Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Maximum winds could reach 145 mph.

Laura is forecast to remain a category 4 hurricane through landfall tonight.

National Hurricane Center

350 Miles Across

Rapid weakening is expected after Laura reaches land. However, Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 70 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles (280 km). That’s 350 miles across!

Storm surge and tropical-storm-force winds will arrive within the warning areas well in advance of Laura’s center.

All preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion in the next few hours.

Louisiana Already Feeling Tropical-Storm-Force Winds

Tropical-storm-force winds have already reached the coast of Louisiana. An observing site at Eugene Island recently measured sustained winds of 39 mph (63 km/h) and a gust to 64 mph (104 km/h). The latest minimum central pressure estimated from reconnaissance aircraft data is 952 mb (28.11 inches). Very low!

20-Foot-High Storm Surge Could Reach 30 Miles Inland

According to the NHC, unsurvivable storm surge with large and destructive waves will cause catastrophic damage from Sea Rim State Park, Texas, to Intracoastal City, Louisiana, including Calcasieu and Sabine Lakes. This storm surge could penetrate up to 30 miles inland from the immediate coastline in southwestern Louisiana and far southeastern Texas.

Warnings in Effect




Key Messages

1. Unsurvivable storm surge with large and destructive waves will cause catastrophic damage from Sea Rim State Park, Texas, to Intracoastal City, Louisiana, including Calcasieu and Sabine Lakes. This surge could penetrate up to 30 miles inland from the immediate coastline. Only a few hours remain to protect life and property and all actions should be rushed to completion.

2. Hurricane-force winds are expected tonight in portions of the hurricane warning area from San Luis Pass, Texas, to west of Morgan City, Louisiana, with catastrophic wind damage expected where Laura’s eyewall makes landfall. Hurricane-force winds and widespread damaging wind gusts will spread well inland across portions of eastern Texas and western Louisiana early Thursday.

3. Widespread flash flooding along small streams, urban areas, and roadways is expected to begin this afternoon into Thursday from far eastern Texas, across Louisiana and Arkansas. This will also lead to minor to isolated moderate freshwater river flooding. The heavy rainfall threat and localized flash and urban flooding potential will spread northeastward into the middle-Mississippi, lower Ohio and Tennessee Valleys Friday night and Saturday.

Posted by Bob Rehak at 2 p.m. CDT on 8/26/2020 based on input from National Hurricane Center and Jeff Lindner, Harris County Meteorologist

1093 Days after Hurricane Harvey

NWS Predicts Local Impacts to Lake Houston Area from Hurricane Laura

The National Weather Service (NWS) Southern Region has produced an interactive map that lets users click on their location and produce estimates of danger from Hurricane Laura.

For the Lake Houston Area, NWS predicts potential for moderate flooding rain

Click one a location near you and review the threat potential.

Potential Impacts Include:

  • Moderate rainfall flooding may prompt several evacuations and rescues.
  • Rivers and tributaries may quickly become swollen with swifter currents and overspill their banks in a few places, especially in usually vulnerable spots. Small streams, creeks, canals, and ditches overflow.
  • Flood waters can enter some structures or weaken foundations. Several places may experience expanded areas of rapid inundation at underpasses, low-lying spots, and poor drainage areas. Some streets and parking lots take on moving water as storm drains and retention ponds overflow. Driving conditions become hazardous. Some road and bridge closures.

For Lake Houston Area, NWS Predicts Winds from 58 to 73 mph

Potential wind threats from Laura and protective actions for people in the Lake Houston Area

Potential Impacts Include:

  • Some damage to roofing and siding materials, along with damage to porches, awnings, carports, and sheds. A few buildings experiencing window, door, and garage door failures. Mobile homes damaged, especially if unanchored. Unsecured lightweight objects become dangerous projectiles.
  • Several large trees snapped or uprooted, but with greater numbers in places where trees are shallow rooted. Several fences and roadway signs blown over.
  • Some roads impassable from large debris, and more within urban or heavily wooded places. A few bridges, causeways, and access routes impassable.
  • Scattered power and communications outages, but more prevalent in areas with above ground lines.


West of Lake Houston, the threat level decreases. Between Dayton and Liberty, it increases.

For those closer to the coast, the map also includes storm surge warnings. Also check out the estimates of tornado threats.

The latest satellite images show Laura just off the coast. The storm is moving north at about 15 miles per hour.

Hurricane Laura as of 11 am 8/26/2020

No Lake Conroe Release Anticipated Before Storm

In other hurricane related news, the SJRA just issued a press release stating that:

“SJRA is operating under standard protocols for a severe weather event and will be onsite at Lake Conroe throughout the night and into Thursday. 
Lake Conroe remains about 15 inches low, and based on the current forecast, no reservoir releases are expected.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 8/26/2020 at 11:00 a.m. based on estimates from the National Weather Service.

1093 Days since Hurricane Harvey

As of 7 a.m., Laura Predicted to Make Landfall at Sabine Pass as Cat 4 Hurricane

This update on Hurricane Laura is based on information from Harris County Meteorologist Jeff Lindner and the National Hurricane Center based on their 4 a.m. and 7 a.m. updates on Wednesday 8/26/2020.

Laura rapidly strengthening…now a 115 mph Category 3 hurricane, predicted to reach Cat 4.

Extremely dangerous hurricane will make landfall near Sabine Pass tonight with catastrophic impacts.

All preparations must be completed by 6:00 p.m. this evening.

Conditions will begin to deteriorate late this afternoon and evening over the region.

Rainfall predictions for the Lake Houston Area increased overnight. We could now receive up to six inches.

The Lake Houston Area now has a 60-80% chance of experiencing topical-storm-force winds from Laura.
Tropical-storm-force winds could arrive as early as mid-afternoon.
The most likely time, however, for the arrival of tropical-storm-force winds is later this evening.


Laura became a large and dangerous hurricane overnight with expansion of the wind field. USAF missions indicate the central pressure continues to fall. Winds are increasing. And Laura has experienced a 40 knot increase in winds in the last 24 hours. (A knot = 1.15 mph.) The eye of the hurricane is starting to clear out. Further rapid intensification is likely today.

The cone of uncertainty now shows Houston will NOT experience a direct hit from the storm, but we will still feel it. Effects from the Laura extend well outward from the center.

The center of Laura should cross the coast near Sabine Pass, TX, near the Texas/Louisiana Border. Models have tightly clustered just either side of the state line. There is high confidence that Laura will make landfall in the areas between Sea Rim State Park and Cameron LA early Thursday morning. The hurricane should move rapidly northward, up the Sabine River Valley on Thursday. 

Given the fast forward motion, significant wind impacts will extend well inland along the track of Laura with wind damage likely extending 100-200 miles inland over eastern Texas and western Louisiana.


Laura will pass over warm Gulf waters today and upper air conditions that favor intensification through landfall. The National Hurricane Center forecasts a category 4, 130 mph hurricane at landfall.

Hurricane force winds extend outward 70 miles from the center and tropical storm force winds 175 miles.

Wind damage and storm surge impacts will extend well beyond the center.

Jeff Lindner, Harris County meteorologist


Storm Surge: 

Expect a catastrophic storm surge event over extreme SE TX and much of coastal Louisiana.

Strong north winds tonight may drive water levels along the north side of Galveston Island and Bolivar to elevated levels and water levels in the NW part of Galveston Bay may fall well below normal.

The following values are above ground level:

Galveston Bay: 1-3 ft

Bolivar: 2-5 ft

High Island to Sea Rim State Park: 6-9 ft

Sea Rim State Park to Intracoastal City (Including Beaumont and Lake Charles): 10-15 ft.

Large destructive waves will accompany storm surge.


West of I-45: 30-40mph

East of I-45: 45-55mph

Chambers, Liberty, Polk Counties: 50-65mph

Jefferson, Orange Counties and Lake Charles: 110-120mph

Higher gusts will occur in squalls. 

Hurricane-force winds currently extend outward up to 70 miles from the center and tropical-storm- force winds extend outward up to 175 miles.

The Harris County line is 75 miles from Sabine Pass; Lake Houston 80 miles.


West of I-45: 1-2 inches

East of I-45: 2-6 inches, isolated totals up to 8 inches.

Sabine River Valley: 8-12 inches

Overnight, rainfall predictions for the Lake Houston Area increased 2 inches. The six inches now predicted roughly equals the amount of rain the Lake Houston Area received on May 7th last year. Elm Grove residents: Please note: the volume of detention ponds now on Woodridge Village should be enough to protect you unless there is a design flaw.

The main rainfall threat comes from rapid, intense rains which can cause street flooding.


Complete all preparations by 6:00 pm this evening. Earlier the better.

If in evacuation areas, evacuate immediately…especially in the Beaumont and Lake Charles area.

Lake Report

Lake Houston as of 6:30 a.m. was at 41.17 feet (full pool 42.4). The Coastal Water Authority will continue releasing water from Lake Houston until it reaches 41 feet.

Lake Conroe is not releasing water and stands at 199.72 feet (full pool is 201).

For More Up-to-the-Minute Information

For the most up-to-date rainfall totals and water levels in bayous, creeks, and rivers, visit www.harriscountyfws.org. This system relies on a network of gage stations that have been strategically placed throughout Harris and surrounding counties.

Also visit the National Hurricane Center and the National Weather Service.

Posted by Bob Rehak at 7:12 a.m. on 8/26/2020 based on input from the National Hurricane Center and Jeff Lindner, Harris County Meteorologist.

1093 Days after Hurricane Harvey

Laura Upgraded to Hurricane; Will Intensify Through Landfall; Mandatory Evacuation for Galveston Island

Overnight, Laura turned into a hurricane. At 5:25 this morning, Jeff Lindner, Harris County Meteorologist, issued the following:

Hurricane Watches extended west to San Luis Pass…now include Harris and Galveston Counties

Major hurricane forecast in the NW Gulf of Mexico Wednesday

Enact hurricane plans now. Follow all recommendations from local officials.

At 7:00 a.m., he issued another warning saying that:

Laura upgraded to a hurricane…intensification will continue through landfall.

Mandatory evacuation order for Galveston Island effective immediately.


Laura is now over the SE Gulf of Mexico and moving toward the WNW after having jogged westward overnight. Deep convection has developed over and near the center this morning. Some light northerly system continues to impact Laura, which continues to track to the south of predictions. 


The steering pattern that will bring Laura to the NW Gulf of Mexico remains somewhat in flux this morning. Laura will turn northwest and then north. But uncertainty remains as to when Laura will make this turn. Overnight model guidance now delays this turn a little longer and brings Laura more toward the upper Texas coast. NHC may have to shift their forecast track a bit more westward later this morning.

Forecast track shifted back west overnight bringing Houston into cone of uncertainty. Track forecast could shift further westward later this morning, bringing Houston closer to center of storm.

While uncertainty remains in the eventual outcome of Laura, preparations for landfall of a major hurricane along the upper TX coast should be well underway.

Jeff Lindner, Harris County Meteorologist

Tropical storm force winds will begin to arrive along the coast Wednesday evening and spread inland Wednesday night into Thursday morning.


A central core is starting to form with Laura and overall circulation of the system is looking better defined. Conditions in the central Gulf today favor a period of rapid intensification. Laura is forecast to make landfall as a major hurricane along the SE TX/SW LA coast late Wednesday.

Laura is a fairly large storm and impacts will be far reaching from the impact point extending both west and east.

Tropical-storm-force winds currently extend outward up to 175 miles (280 km) from the center.



Will rainfall forecast at 2-4 inches east of I-45 and 1-3 inches west of I-45, but this may need to be increased later today. WPC has placed areas east of I-45 in a slight risk for flash flooding.

Most of Houston falls into the light and dark green bands on the left, predicted to get 1-4 inches of rain.
NHC how gives the Houston Area a slight chance of flash flooding (10-20%).
Storm Surge: 

Still looking at 2-4 feet above ground level in Galveston Bay and 4-6 feet on Bolivar with levels of 7-11 feet east of High Island into Louisiana. Should the track shift more west, these values around Galveston Bay would potentially need to be increased significantly.  


Tropical storm force winds will be moving into the area Wednesday evening. Expect winds of 40-50mph across Harris County northward along I-45 with hurricane conditions becoming increasingly likely over Liberty and Chambers Counties. Any additional shift westward in the track will bring stronger winds across the area.

Be prepared for power outages starting Wednesday evening. 


Enact hurricane plans now.

Follow all recommendation on evacuation from local officials.


The National Hurricane Center advises that:

Storm Surge Watch is in effect for San Luis Pass Texas to Ocean Springs Mississippi.

  • High Island TX to Morgan City LA including Sabine Lake, Calcasieu Lake, and Vermilion Bay…7-11 ft
  • Port Bolivar TX to High Island TX…4-6 ft
  • San Luis Pass TX to Port Bolivar TX…2-4 ft
  • Galveston Bay…2-4 ft

Hurricane Watch is in effect for San Luis Pass Texas to west of Morgan City Louisiana

Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for…

  • San Luis Pass to Freeport Texas
  • Morgan City Louisiana to the Mouth of the Mississippi River

A Storm Surge Watch means there is a possibility of life-threatening inundation, from rising water moving inland from the coastline, in the indicated locations during the next 48 hours.

A Hurricane Watch means that hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area. A watch is typically issued 48 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force winds, conditions that make outside preparations difficult or dangerous.

For inland watches and warnings, monitor the local National Weather Service forecast office.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 8/25/2020 with input from CoH, Harris County, National Hurricane Center, National Weather Service, and ReadyHarris.

1092 Days After Hurricane Harvey