The National Hurricane Center has stated that hurricane Laura will make landfall as a major hurricane, with winds expected to be around 115 mph and a storm surge up to 11 feet when it strikes the Louisiana-Texas border late Wednesday or early Thursday. Laura was declared a hurricane when an NOAA hurricane hunter aircraft detected maximum sustained winds of 75 mph as a storm center was crossing into the Gulf of Mexico. It is not expected to draw more power from the gulf coast’s warm water.
According to Eric Blake, NHC forecaster, there will be significant strengthening in the forecast during the next 48 hours due to Tropical Storm Laura. A hurricane warning is now in effect from San Luis Pass, Texas, just a bit south of Galveston, to Intracoastal City, La. The hurricane conditions are expected within the warning area in the next 36 hours.
Meteorologists issued a storm surge warning for a wider area from San Luis Pass to the mouth of the Mississippi River. According to NHC director Ken Graham, “ the storm surge is the leading cause of fatalities in these tropical systems.” The first tropical-storm-force is expected to reach the US Mainland Wednesday morning. Coastal waters levels could also rise long before the hurricane makes landfall. If the surge peaks at the same time as a high tide area such as Sabine Lake, Sea Rim State Park, Texas, and Calcasieu Lake could see water that is 9 to 13 ft deep. The Hurricane Center stated the storm is currently moving west-northwest, and forecasters believe its long Westward trip across the goal will give it time to strengthen.
Experts state that when the storms arrive one should expect the affected area to be much larger than the cones that appear on forecast Maps. Laura is now projecting tropical-storm-force winds for 175 miles from its center, expected to bring heavy rain to Inland areas. According to the NHC, “There is a risk of life-threatening storm surge from San Luis Pass, Texas, to Ocean Springs, Mississippi, within the next 48 hours.”
Category 3 storms, much like Laura, are expected to become routinely cause devastating damage to trees, homes, and several infrastructures. According to the National Weather Service, a recent Category 3 storm includes Harvey, which hit Texas back in 2019, and Hurricane Rita, which hit Louisiana coasts back in 2005. The governors of Texas and Louisiana have now declared states of emergency due to the storm and the heavy inches of rain, and also say their request for President Donald Trump for a federal emergency declaration has been approved.
State emergencies were declared in Louisiana and Mississippi and several shelters opened with cots with enough distance to avoid the spread of the Coronavirus. Texas Governor Greg Abbott has also ordered more than 70 members with the Texas Army, Air National Guards, and Texas State Guards “to position themselves in areas where they can respond to all emergencies if needed.” The order also put UH-72 Lakota and UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter crews on alert. Laura is predicted by experts to remain a tropical storm for at least one day after making landfall, which is expected to bring intense rainfall from 4 to 8 in. Some isolated areas are as much as 12 inches.
According to the Associated Press, hundreds of thousands of people were given mandatory evacuation orders near the U.S. Gulf Coast as hurricane Laura strengthened and expected to bring in ferocious winds and deadly flooding. More than 385,000 residents were told to evacuate the Texas cities of Port Arthur, Galveston, and Beaumont. Others were ordered to evacuate low-lying southwestern Louisiana. Hurricane warnings were also issues to San Luis Pass, Texas, Intracoastal City, and Louisianna. Laura previously passed the western tip of Cuba and killed nearly two dozen people on the island of Hispaniola, including three in the Dominican Republic and 20 in Haiti.