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.
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 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.
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 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.
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