Storms Weather

Laura and Marco


August 24, 2020

Noon, Wednesday, August 26: Hurricane Laura Forecast To Be Cat 4 Monster Storm – Update From Lake Charles

Wednesday, August 26: Morning Hurricane Laura Update

Unfortunate news everyone…Hurricane Laura rapidly intensifying and now at threshold of cat 2/ cat 3. Forecast to make landfall as cat 4 with winds exceeding 135-140 mph and a storm surge of 10-15 feet.

Most likely landfall location near TX/ LA border. If this forecast verifies, the worst damage would be in extreme SW Louisiana.

The size of hurricane force winds have also increased on this forecast. They can extend outward up to 75 miles. This is comparable to Rita but smaller than Ike.Possibly a similar landfall location to Rita- but stronger. Rita’s winds were 115 mph at landfall…Laura could be 135-140 mph.

Cat 4 winds cause catastrophic damage. Look at the three pics I uploaded. They are from Hurricane Michael in 2018, in the cat 4 wind zone.

The winds ripped out the walls of an apartment building and blew large/ heavy slabs from the walls more than a block inland. The pic of the wall slab on the sidewalk shows a heavy slab that weighed around 50 pounds. These slabs were destroying cars and making them looked “bombed out” more than a block away!

In the same area, a big shipping container rolled end over end, crushing cars in a parking lot.

Keep in mind that track forecasts are not perfect. People in the Beaumont/ Port Arthur metro area to Lake Charles should take precautions now to save their lives and strongly consider traveling east or west. You still have time to get out. Landfall predicted for around midnight and tropical storm force winds arrive this evening.

Be very careful to not shelter under large trees even along and north of the I-10 corridor in places like Lumberton and Deweyville, Texas, as well as communities near and slightly north of Sulphur/ Lake Charles.

I’m expecting minor wind damage in Houston metro and generally low risk.Friends in Galveston and especially Bolivar Peninsula…core winds should pass east of you but the waves will be tremendous. I’m expecting storm surge to run up to Galveston’s seawall and wash across Hwy 87 on Bolivar.

If forecast holds, Galveston would only see minor wind damage and Bolivar minor to moderate. Friends along Galveston Bay…storms that pass to the east put more surge on the barrier islands than in the bay. I’m expecting a small surge in the bay…maybe 2-3 feet at most. If a storm hits west of Galveston it will usually put more surge in the bay than on the barrier islands.I am in Lake Charles and will document this from a very secure shelter that is like a concrete bunker. Take this storm very seriously…especially from wind and surge hazards close to the TX/ LA border.

Stay tuned to the CNC social media channels for frequent updates…

– Hurricane Hal

Tuesday, August 25: Morning Tropical Weather Update

We have some substantial and important changes in the morning tropical forecast.

1) The official forecast track from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) has shifted a little west overnight.

2) The official NHC forecast now has Laura intensifying into a major hurricane, with winds of 115 MPH near the TX/ LA border. Landfall most likely after midnight Wednesday night.

3) A bigger concern for our Texas friends…several of the major model ensembles have shifted substantially west on the “00Z” run, which used initial conditions from 7PM Central Time yesterday evening. I posted maps of the Euro, GFS (American) and UKMET ensemble maps to this post. Many people consider the Euro to be the overall best performing model in the world, and the “ensemble mean”, shown by a black line on that map, brings Laura in near the southern tip of Galveston Island, which would be a worst case scenario for Galveston, much of Houston Metro and possibly Galveston Bay.A landfall near Galveston would be devastating for the Bolivar Peninsula as well, as storm surge piled up efficiently to the right of the storm track.

4) The NHC has now extended the Hurricane Watch south to San Luis Pass, which means all of Galveston Island is now in the watch area. The hurricane watch remains for the Bolivar Peninsula.A hurricane watch means hurricane conditions are possible. The NHC has increased the chance of hurricane winds at Galveston to 24%….yesterday evening they were 10%. Port Arthur is now 35% and Cameron, LA leads the list with 43%. Houston is up to 9%, and obviously that number will shift depending on where you are in the huge metro area. Those numbers are based on the NHC official forecast, which brings the eye near TX/ LA border.

5) It’s important to not focus on the precise track. Expect model runs to move the track east and west. Everyone from Freeport, TX through Vermillion Bay, LA should watch this storm closely.

6) Given the forecast intensity, track and forward motion, I would expect a peak storm surge in the 12-14 foot range. This is how much saltwater the storm is pushing onto land. This is a devastating storm surge level that can wash homes completely off their slabs.In many coastal cities, the water level is already around 2 feet above the “0” mark on a sunny day. This “0” mark is a datum called NAVD88. If your elevation certificate says you are at 14 feet above NAVD88, you are probably around 12 feet above the water. A 12 foot surge would reach your house and the surge forecast does not include waves on top of the surge.

7) A category 3 hurricane has crossed the threshold into a “major” hurricane. In addition to life-threatening storm surge, structural damage becomes more likely on homes at this level. The Saffir Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale describes cat 3 winds as follows:”Devastating Damage Will Occur: Well-built framed homes may incur major damage or removal of roof decking and gable ends. Many trees will be snapped or uprooted, blocking numerous roads. Electricity and water will be unavailable for several days to weeks after the storm passes.

This is a serious storm everyone. Take precautions today to protect your life and property.I have been conducting Hurricane Katrina interviews this past week and a common theme I heard was advice to evacuate and get out as early as possible.

I wish I had better news. We will make it through this. I will continue to post updates and I’m available to answer your questions.

I created a Hurricane Laura Facebook Group this morning to help people connect and share information. Here is the link:

Monday, August 24: Evening Tropical Weather Update

TS Laura will likely develop into a hurricane and impact South Louisiana and the Upper Texas Coast. Although models have shifted slightly east today, it is important to look at the increasing probabilities of storm impacts and not focus on one precise track. Laura’s most likely impacts will be damaging winds and large storm surge in South Louisiana, although friends on the Upper Texas coast should keep a close eye on the storm and also be prepared to evacuate.

Monday, August 24: Morning Tropical Weather Update

Tropical Storm Laura is forecast to become a hurricane and likely impact the Upper Texas and Louisiana coasts. The latest forecast shifts the track slightly west, increasing risk for Texas. The latest NHC forecast predicts maximum sustained winds of a strong cat 2 hurricane (105 mph) at landfall, but these values could increase. Radar and satellite presentations this morning indicate the future track forecast may also shift slightly south/ west again. Expect a devastating storm surge in the 10-12 foot range given the current forecast, which would have major impacts on coastal communities near and to the right of landfall.

Dr. Hal’s Monday morning update

Take this storm seriously and take precautions now to protect your life and property. Follow your local authorities for evacuation guidance and the National Hurricane Center/ National Weather Service for official forecast updates.