Major Hurricane Laura Strengthens to Category 4

  • Aug 26, 2020

Updated Thursday, August 27, 2020 by the Earth Networks Meteorologists

Destructive Hurricane Laura Rips Through Louisiana.

After making landfall overnight as a major Category 4 hurricane, Laura continues to weaken as the storm batters Louisiana and eastern Texas.

The northern eyewall moved over Cameron, Louisiana just after midnight, producing catastrophic damage and “unsurvivable” storm surge along the Texas/Louisiana border.

Laura’s Path As She Weakens

Hurricane Laura Track on August 27, 2020

As of 7 am CDT, Hurricane Laura was near 31.2 N, 93.3 W. This is about 20 miles north of Fort Polk, Louisiana.

Although weakening, Laura is still a Category 2 hurricane with winds of 100 mph. The system is moving to the north at 15 mph with a minimum central pressure of 970 mb. This is 28.64 inches of mercury.

Hurricane Laura will continue to move northward through western Louisiana this morning. The weakening hurricane will spread devestating rainfall and catastrophic winds into northern Louisiana and southern Arkansas today.

Sferic Maps visual of Hurricane Laura on the morning of Thursday, August 27, 2020

Tropical storm warnings and storm surge warnings extend from High Island, Texas to the mouth of the Mississippi River.

In addition to the destructive storm surge, heavy rainfall will lead to flooding across eastern and northeastern Texas, western Louisiana, and eventually southern Arkansas.

Rainfall amounts of 6 to 12 inches are possible, with higher amounts up to 15 inches.

The Lake Charles Regional Ariport reported sustained winds of 98 mph and gusts up to 132 mph.

Damage & Destruction

We got a frightening first look at what Hurricane Laura did overnight when the sun rose this morning.

The powerful eyewall and tornadoes tore the roofs off of homes, uprooted trees, and carried vehicles away.

There are various dramatic images and videos coming out of the area that show the Capital One Building missing most of its windows and other buildings left completely unrecognizable.

We are seeing some of the most dramatic images this morning from Lake Charles, Louisiana, which suffered a direct hit.


2020 Hurricane Season 

As we continue to support our clients in the affected areas, our thoughts are with everyone in the path of this destructive storm.

2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season Mid-Season Update

We do not want to sound alarmist, but we are just hitting the peak of hurricane season. Hurricane Laura was our 11th named storm in our outlook which calls for 22 named storms. That means we are only halfway through.

Laura became our fourth hurricane of the season. Our forecast calls for 11 (+/-2) so we are still waiting on quite a few more.

It was also our first major hurricane (cat 3/+). Our meteorologists believe we could see 3-6 more major hurricanes before this hurricane season is over.

Be Prepared

Unfortunately, there is little you can do for your family or business once a hurricane is forecast to hit your area. Hurricane preparedness starts with a detailed plan that you can carry out quickly so you can secure your assets and get to safety.

Have an emergency storm kit that includes things like . We have a blog that includes:

  • Extra batteries
  • Spare radio
  • Blankets
  • Cash
  • Food supply (non-perishable and ready to eat)

We have a blog with 10 hurricane safety tips that can help you survive the rest of the season.

Remember: Preparedness is the first step to hurricane safety. Please make sure you always listen to evacuation orders and local officials.

Stay safe.


Initial post from Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Hurricane Laura, now a Category 4 major hurricane, will slam the Gulf coast with "unsurvivable" storm surge and maximum sustained winds of 140 mph.

Hurricane Laura satellite image

Hurricane Laura is rapidly intensifying and is now a major Category 4 hurricane. It will reach the Gulf Coast near the Texas/Louisiana border tonight as a major hurricane, producing catastrophic damage and "unsurvivable" storm surge, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Hurricane Laura Position & Strength

As of 1 pm CDT, Hurricane Laura was near 27.3 N, 92.5 W. This is about 200 miles south-southeast of Lake Charles, Louisiana, and about 200 miles south-southeast of Port Arthur, Texas.

Laura is a very strong Category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 140 mph.

The system is moving to the northwest at 16 mph. Hurricane Laura has a minimum central pressure of 953 mb, or 28.11 inches of mercury.


Laura Watches & Warnings

Satellite image of Hurricane Laura as it approaches the Gulf Coast along with hurricane watches and warnings from the NWS

Before we get into the watches and warnings, you must know that Hurricane Laura is an extremely dangerous, life-threatening storm. Coastal residents should heed local emergency officials' advice and evacuate immediately.

The window to evacuate is narrowing as we expect conditions to rapidly deteriorate this afternoon into this evening.

Hurricane Warnings & Watches

Hurricanes warnings are up from San Luis Pass, Texas, to Intracoastal City, Louisiana.

If you are in the hurricane warning area, that means forecasters expect you will experience hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or greater).

During a hurricane warning, you should complete storm preparations and be prepared to evacuate.

A hurricane watch is active from Intracoastal City, Louisiana to Morgan City, Louisiana. Hurricane watches indicate hurricane conditions are possible within your area within 48 hours. Hurricane watches also turn into warnings, so make sure you pay attention to the NHC's updates.

Tropical Storm Warnings

Tropical storm warnings cover the following areas:

  • From Sargent, Texas to San Luis Pass, Texas
  • From Intracoastal City, Louisiana to Morgan City, Louisiana

 

A tropical storm warning means that forecasters expect tropical storm conditions in your area within the next 36 hours.

Storm Surge Warnings & Watches

Storm surge warnings are in effect from Freeport, Texas to the mouth of the Mississippi River.

This is often the deadliest threat of a hurricane, accounting for nearly half of all deaths associated with land falling tropical cyclones.

A storm surge warning is defined as the danger of life-threatening inundation from rising water moving inland from the shoreline somewhere within the specified area, generally within 36 hours.

There are also tropical storm watches up from the mouth of the Mississippi River to Ocean Springs, Mississippi. This includes lakes Pontchartrain, Maurepas, and Borgne in the metro New Orleans area.

Please keep reading to learn more about the specific risks associated with these warnings and watches.


Timing & Threats

Hurricane Laura will continue to move to the northwest over the course of the day today. With warm waters and weak wind shear, Laura will continue to intensify.

Hurricane Laura wind speeds and location on August 26, 2020

We believe maximum sustained winds over 145 mph are likely at landfall. Hurricane Laura will most likely make landfall late tonight or early Thursday near the Texas/Louisiana border.

Storm Surge Risks

Destructive storm surge of 15 to 20 feet will inundate up to 30 miles inland from the Gulf Coast especially in the northeastern quadrant of the hurricane as the eye makes landfall.

This will produce devastating coastal flooding and produce widespread damage to even the harden structures. Coastal residents should heed local emergency officials’ advice and evacuate immediately.

Rainfall Risks

In addition to the destructive storm surge, heavy rainfall will lead to flooding across eastern and northeastern Texas and southwestern Louisiana.

Rainfall amounts of 5 to 10 inches are possible along the west-central Gulf Coast, with higher amounts up to 15 inches. Winds will ramp up throughout the day today, with hurricane-force winds likely by this evening.


Stay Safe 

Pay attention to updates from the National Hurricane Center. Track the storm and be aware of changing information.

Right now, we are offering free access to our weather tracking Map, Sferic Maps. This access will remain open during Hurricane Laura and comes pre-loaded with tropical storm watching layers.

Track Laura


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