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.
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.
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.
SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT
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