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
STORM-SURGE WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR FREEPORT TEXAS TO THE MOUTH OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER
HURRICANE-WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR SAN LUIS PASS TEXAS TO INTRACOASTAL CITY LOUISIANA
TROPICAL-STORM WARNING IN EFFECT FOR SARGENT TEXAS TO SAN LUIS PASS AND EAST OF INTRACOASTAL CITY LOUISIANA TO THE MOUTH OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER
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
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