Hurricane Laura still a Category 1 storm in north Louisiana

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Local impacts from Laura are expected through Thursday.

NEW ORLEANS — The National Hurricane Center says Laura remains a hurricane, sustaining top winds of 75 mph as it moves more than 170 miles inland.

Laura made landfall at 1 a.m. Thursday near Cameron, a 400-person community about 30 miles east of the Texas border. At landfall, the storm had 150 mph maximum sustained winds, making it the most powerful hurricane to strike the U.S. so far this year.

More than nine hours later, it was about 10 miles north of Natchitoches, Louisiana, and had not yet weakened into a tropical storm. It was moving north near 16 mph.

Laura is expected to keep drenching Louisiana and then Arkansas as a tropical storm, causing widespread flash flooding and damage from winds. 

HURRICANE CENTER: Latest Tracks, Models & Radar – Click here.

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⚠️Impacts from Hurricane Laura

Laura will bring some impacts for southeast Louisiana. Coastal storm surge looks like the most significant impact from this storm.

Storm surge

Storm surge at landfall is forecast to be the following:

  • Morgan City to the mouth of Mississippi River: 4-7 feet
  • The mouth of Mississippi River to Ocean Springs, MS.: 1-3 feet
  • Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Lake Maurepas: 1-3 feet

Rain

Laura is expected to bring roughly 1-5 inches of rain to southeast Louisiana through Friday. We should be able to handle that amount of rain, but we’ll watch closely for some heavier bands that could cause isolated flooding.

A Flash Flood Watch is in effect for all of Southeast Louisiana until 7 PM.

Tornadoes

A few isolated tornadoes could spin up in some of the feeder bands into Laura today. The Storm Prediction Center has placed our area through Thursday at a ‘marginal’ to ‘slight’ risk, which is the lowest two levels out of five. That means some isolated tornadic storms will be possible. The most likely area for those would be across all of southeast Louisiana.

A Tornado Watch has been issued until 4:00 pm for all of southeast Louisiana. 

Wind

We’ll also have breezy winds from the east/southeast at 15-25 mph with higher gusts through Thursday. Some low-end tropical-storm-force winds are expected along our coast where the tropical storm warnings are in place.

Farther west near the Texas-Louisiana state line, higher rain totals of 4-8 inches are expected, with isolated amounts of 12 inches. This rainfall can produce widespread flash and urban flooding, small streams to overflow their banks, and minor river flooding. A much higher storm surge of up to 13 feet is also in the forecast for southwest Louisiana.

Of course, it is a good idea to make any storm preparations you may need to do now and make sure storm drains are cleaned.

HURRICANE CENTER: Latest Tracks, Models & Radar – Click here.

Extended Outlook

There is a pattern called the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) which is a fluctuation of favorable and unfavorable states for tropical development across the globe. This favorable/unfavorable pattern shifts every few weeks. At the end of August and into September, this pattern will shift over the Atlantic. When in a “favorable” mode, you could see multiple storms at a time and also the chance for more powerful storms. So we’ll be more favorable as we near the peak of the season. Stay tuned.

RELATED: What is a Potential Tropical Cyclone?

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Hurricane season forecast to become “extremely active”

NOAA released their August hurricane season forecast update and called for an ‘Extremely Active’ season. The forecast called for 19-25 named storms, 7-11 hurricanes and 3-6 major. These numbers already include nine named storms and two hurricanes. 

The reasons for the extremely active season: 

• Warmer than normal sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic and Caribbean

• Enhanced West African Monsoon (rainy) season – causes tropical waves

• Possible La Nina forming in the months ahead

• Reduced wind shear over the Atlantic Basin – allows storms to develop

Now is the time to be prepared. Typically, the season becomes more active in the next few weeks with the peak on September 10th. 

The expert forecasters at Colorado State issued their August update on the 2020 hurricane season. Their forecast now calls for 24 named storms (total for the season), 12 hurricanes and five major hurricanes.

That’s an increase of four named storms, three hurricanes, and one major hurricane.

Should there be 24 named storms, they would run out of names and have to go to the Greek alphabet, like in 2005.

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