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Difficult Hurricane Laura Recovery Reflected in Staggering Numbers; Lives Turned ‘Completely Upside Down,’ Governor Says

Difficult Hurricane Laura Recovery Reflected in Staggering Numbers; Lives Turned ‘Completely Upside Down,’ Governor Says

  • As many as 17,000 evacuees are seeking shelter in Louisiana and Texas hotels.

  • At least 14 deaths in Louisiana have been attributed to Hurricane Laura.

  • Four deaths in Texas were connected to the storm.

  • With over 350,000 still without power, officials said outages could last for weeks.

  • Schools in Calcasieu and in Cameron parishes will remain closed until further notice.

The numbers that reflect the impact of Hurricane Laura can’t tell the full story.

Nonetheless, they are staggering.

“We have a long road ahead of us. This recovery is going to take a while and it’s going to take a lot of effort …,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said during a briefing Sunday afternoon. “A very significant percentage of our state’s population’s lives are completely upside down.”

At least 14 deaths in Louisiana have been blamed on the hurricane, eight of which were caused by carbon monoxide poisoning from generators, Edwards said. Laura was responsible for four deaths in Texas and 23 in the Caribbean.

Nearly 308,000 Louisiana homes and businesses remained without power on Monday morning, according to poweroutage.us. Texas had more than 57,700 customers without electricity.

About 500 electricity transmission towers are down in the Lake Charles area alone, Edwards said.

More than 17,000 linemen from at least 29 states are making repairs, the governor said.

Customers have been warned it could be four or five weeks — if not longer — before their electricity is restored.

More than 180,000 people also have little or no running water. At least 183 water systems remain shut down after being slammed by Laura.

Close to 9,000 people are sheltering in hotels throughout the state. As many as 8,000 are in Texas hotels.

In Calcasieu and in Cameron parishes, schools will remain closed until further notice, officials announced.

Calcasieu School Board officials said 97% of their 70 sites and facilities have substantial damage.

Some 6,240 members of the Louisiana National Guard helping with hurricane recovery have handed out 893,000 bottles of water, 473,000 meals, more than 36,000 bags of ice and about 14,000 tarps.

What these numbers fail to convey is the physical and emotional toll Hurricane Laura is taking on real people. People like James Townley of Lake Charles.

The 56-year-old man sought relief from the stifling heat on Sunday with a fan powered by a neighbor’s generator. He lay on a sofa in what was left of his home after Laura ripped the front wall off.

His open shirt showed heart surgery scars. Townley told the Associated Press he has run out of medicine for his heart and kidneys. He said he hasn’t heard back from FEMA.

“I’m just going to sit here and do what I can do,” he said. “Maybe I’ll make it, maybe I won’t.”

Death Toll Climbs to 18
The Louisiana Department of Health announced two more deaths Sunday as a result of Hurricane Laura, bringing the total in the state to 14. Of the 14 deaths, eight were due to carbon monoxide poisoning.

These are the confirmed victims in Louisiana:

-14-year-old girl, Vernon Parish, fallen tree

-51-year-old man, Jackson Parish, fallen tree

-68-year-old man, Acadia Parish, fallen tree

-64-year-old woman, Allen Parish, fallen tree

-Man, Calcasieu Parish, drowning

-24-year-old man, Calcasieu Parish, carbon monoxide poisoning from generator

-56-year-old woman, Calcasieu Parish, carbon monoxide poisoning from generator

-61-year-old man, Calcasieu Parish, carbon monoxide poisoning from generator

-81-year-old woman, Calcasieu Parish, carbon monoxide poisoning from generator

-72-year-old man, Calcasieu Parish, carbon monoxide poisoning from generator

-84-year-old man, Allen Parish, carbon monoxide poisoning from generator

-80-year-old woman, Allen Parish, carbon monoxide poisoning from generator

-57-year-old man, Calcasieu Parish, head injury after falling from roof

-One resident, Calcasieu Parish, carbon monoxide poisoning

In Texas, three men died in Port Arthur because of carbon monoxide poisoning from a generator they had brought indoors while sheltering from Laura, Jefferson County Precinct 7 Justice of the Peace Brad Burnett told KBMT-TV.

A 54-year-old man was killed Thursday when a tree fell on his mobile home, Sabine County Emergency Management Coordinator Kerwin Lloyd said, according to the AP.

Tropical Depression Laura Moving Through the Mid-South With Gusty Winds, Flooding After Category 4 Landfall

Tropical Depression Laura Moving Through the Mid-South With Gusty Winds, Flooding After Category 4 Landfall

Laura made landfall early Thursday morning and will spread threats of strong winds, flooding rain and tornadoes from the South and mid-Mississippi Valley into the Ohio and Tennessee valleys.

Current Status & Forecast
Laura made landfall near Cameron, Louisiana, at 1 a.m. CDT as a strong Category 4 with 150 mph winds, southwest Louisiana’s first Category 4 landfalling hurricane on record, according to NOAA’s historical database.

For a complete rundown on the notable storm surge, wind and flooding reports, scroll down to our recap section.

Laura is now tracking through the mid-South as a slowly weakening system and has lost tropical characteristics.

It will turn more eastward into Saturday before pushing off the East Coast.

Laura may regain some life this weekend as it accelerates off of Cape Cod and southeastern Canada.

Laura will spread heavy rain far inland through parts of the lower and middle Mississippi valleys, Ohio Valley, Tennessee Valley and the mid-Atlantic into Saturday.

Here’s a look at what rainfall totals can be expected along the path of Laura, according to NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center and the National Hurricane Center.

-Parts of Mississippi, Arkansas, Alabama, Tennessee, Missouri and Kentucky: Additional 1 to 3 inches, with isolated totals of up to 5 inches. Flash flooding and river flooding are possible in these areas.

-Portions of the central and southern Appalachians, Mid-Atlantic states on Saturday: 1 to 2 inches, with isolated amounts of up to 3 inches. Local flash flooding is possible in these areas, particularly in hilly terrain or urban areas.

Some isolated severe thunderstorms in Laura’s outer rainbands are possible, some of which could spin up brief tornadoes parts of the mid-South and Tennessee Valley through Friday.

U.S. Recap
Laura had maximum sustained winds of 150 mph when it made landfall at 1 a.m. CDT on Thursday near Cameron, Louisiana.

It was southwest Louisiana’s first Category 4 hurricane landfall on record, dating to 1851, according to Steve Bowen, meteorologist with Aon. It also tied the Last Island 1856 hurricane for strongest (by estimated wind speed) to landfall in Louisiana, according to Colorado State University tropical scientist Phil Klotzbach.

Its central pressure at landfall was similar to Hurricane Rita in 2005, though Laura’s winds were stronger.

The landfall was the culmination of a remarkable period of intensification after moving off the coast of western Cuba.

High Winds

Laura produced the following wind gusts in Louisiana and southeast Texas Thursday morning:

-Lake Charles, Louisiana: 133 mph

-Calcasieu Pass, Louisiana: 127 mph

-Cameron, Louisiana: 116 mph

-Sabine Pass, Texas: 89 mph

-Alexandria, Louisiana: 86 mph (video from Mike Seidel)

The winds knocked out power to more than 800,000 homes and businesses in southeast Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi, according to poweroutage.us.

Extensive wind damage was reported in Lake Charles, Louisiana, including numerous shattered windows in downtown skyscrapers, a communication tower collapsed, power poles toppled and roofs shredded.

The extreme winds even destroyed the National Weather Service Doppler radar in Lake Charles, in similar fashion as what happened to another NWS Doppler radar in Puerto Rico during Hurricane Maria in 2017.

Trees and power lines were reported down “all over the city” in Shreveport, Louisiana, according to local law enforcement. Multiple downed trees and power lines also blocked roads throughout Caldwell Parish, Louisiana.

Other reports of wind damage have come in from Monroe, Lafayette, Starks and Vinton, Louisiana, and Natchez, Mississippi. A church was damaged in Orange, Texas, near the Louisiana border.

Storm Surge

Storm surge inundation of just over 9 feet was measured at the coast near Cameron, Louisiana, around the time of Laura’s landfall.

The worst of the storm surge, according to satellite imagery, appeared to have been just east of Cameron, though no weather instruments were available to measure it. A future damage survey may uncover high water marks to measure the peak surge, however, given the area’s low population, it may be difficult to find such high water marks, as was the case during Hurricane Rita in 2005.

While producing destructive winds in the hurricane’s eyewall, Laura’s center may have tracked just far enough east to spare the Lake Charles metro area a much worse fate than feared from surge flooding.

West to southwest winds to the south of Laura’s center did pile water from Lake Charles into parts of downtown Lake Charles several hours after landfall early Thursday morning, in areas that were previously dry, according to storm chaser Chris Jackson. A peak storm surge of around 4.65 feet was measured by a gauge along Lake Charles downtown.

Storm surge of 3 to 5 feet was also measured around Vermilion Bay, along the south-central Louisiana coast. Some water pushed up the Vermilion River into parts of Lafayette, Louisiana, early Thursday. Feet of water was noted by local media in Delcambre, about halfway between Lafayette and Vermilion Bay, Thursday morning.

Storm surge of about 2.4 feet was recorded in Port Arthur, Texas, and about 4 feet at Galveston.

Rainfall Flooding

Widespread flooding was reported across much of Natchitoches Parish, between Shreveport and Alexandria, Louisiana, Thursday morning. University underpass in Lafayette was impassable due to rising water.

Laura’s History
Tropical Depression Thirteen formed in the Atlantic last Wednesday night (Aug. 19) and strengthened into Tropical Storm Laura on Friday morning (Aug. 20.)

Laura is the earliest Atlantic ‘L’ named storm on record. The previous record was Luis on Aug. 29, 1995, according to Phil Klotzbach, tropical scientist at Colorado State University.

Laura brought heavy rainfall and gusty winds to the Leeward Islands and Puerto Rico later Friday through Saturday.

Southern parts of Puerto Rico picked up 2 to 6 inches of rainfall.

Winds gusted up to 75 mph at Salinas, along Puerto Rico’s southern coast.

Portions of the Dominican Republic picked up nearly a foot of rain from Laura over the weekend, which triggered serious flash flooding in some areas.

Sustained winds of 60 mph with a gust over 70 mph was measured in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Sunday evening.

Laura made landfall on the Pinar del Rio province in western Cuba around 8:00 p.m. Monday with maximum sustained winds of about 65 mph.

A wind gust of 69 mph was measured in Key West, Florida, Monday afternoon as a line of showers associated with Laura moved through.

Laura became the fourth hurricane of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season Tuesday morning, based on measurements taken by NOAA hurricane hunter aircraft.

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Laura Damages Homes in Arkansas After Leaving 6 Dead Amid Louisiana Devastation

Laura Damages Homes in Arkansas After Leaving 6 Dead Amid Louisiana Devastation

After causing widespread devastation across Louisiana, Laura is leaving pockets of damage as it moves inland across Arkansas into the Lower Ohio Valley.

After coming ashore as a strong Category 4 hurricane at 1 a.m. CDT Thursday, Laura ravaged southern Louisiana.

The worst damage appeared to be in Calcasieu and Cameron parishes, but it extended far from the coast. In many areas, assessment teams have been unable to survey the damage from the ground.

Four people were killed by falling trees in Louisiana, according to Gov. John Bel Edwards. Two deaths, also in Louisiana, were a man who died of carbon monoxide while running a generator inside his residence and another who drowned when a boat sank during the storm, the Associated Press reported. Laura also killed 23 people in the Caribbean.

More than half a million Louisiana homes and businesses remained without electricity Thursday morning, according to poweroutage.us. Another 240,000 customers in Texas and Arkansas had no power.

Louisiana
“Pretty much devastating,” is how Tim Dupont, fire chief in the town of Cameron, Louisiana, described the scene during a phone call with weather.com. “Basically there’s not much left and they’re just waiting for an opportunity to go back down there and see what they can collect.”

The deaths from falling trees in Louisiana occurred in Vernon, Jackson and Acadia parishes, all well inland from the coast, the governor said in a news conference. Jackson Parish is more than 200 miles from where Laura came ashore.

Lake Charles, in Calcasieu Parish, saw extensive damage. Windows blew out of skyscrapers, a TV tower collapsed, dozens and dozens of homes and businesses lost roofs and walls. Trees were down everywhere.

Meanwhile, across Lake Charles, a large fire at a chemical plant forced residents to shelter inside with windows and doors closed and air conditioners turned off.

Arkansas
Laura was downgraded to a tropical storm by the time it reached Arkansas, but it still caused flooding, knocked down trees and spawned possible tornadoes.

Homes were damaged in Bradley, Calhoun and Ouachita counties, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported.

Trees were down in many Arkansas counties and some structures were damaged, said Melody Daniel, a spokeswoman for the Arkansas Division of Emergency Management. She said three homes were damaged in Bradley County and one home was damaged in both Calhoun and Ouachita counties.

A tree fell through the roof of a home in Little Rock in Pulaski County, KARK reported. A falling tree also damaged a home in Woodruff County, and another in Cleveland County caused significant damage to a home there. Trees were down in Hot Spring, Grant, Clark and Drew counties, according to KARK.

A possible tornado tore a section of roof off the Refuge Baptist Church in Lake City, 15 miles east of Jonesboro. The storm also ruptured a gas line, Jonesboro E-911 Director Jeff Presley told The Associated Press. No injuries were reported.

In Jonesboro, rescue crews had to free a woman trapped when a tree limb fell on her mobile home, Presley said.

He said major roof damage also was reported in Goobertown, northeast of Jonesboro.

Texas
Texas appeared to have escaped widespread damage, Gov. Greg Abbott said in a news release.

“While we are grateful that the damage of Hurricane Laura was far less severe than expected, many communities in Southeast Texas have experienced significant damage from this storm,” Abbott said.

The governor surveyed the damage in Orange, Texas, along the Sabine River on the border with Louisiana, which was one of the hardest-hit areas.

Mayor Larry Spears told KTRK trees were down, streets were littered with debris and some businesses lost roofs, but he expected much worse.

The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.
Hurricane Laura Kills 1, Devastates Swath of Louisiana; Roofs Ripped Off, Buildings Shattered

Hurricane Laura Kills 1, Devastates Swath of Louisiana; Roofs Ripped Off, Buildings Shattered

  • Cameron and Calcasieu parishes are reporting severe damage from high winds and storm surge.

  • Glass walls in buildings in Lake Charles were shatttered.

  • Nearly 609,000 homes and businesses have no power across Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi.

  • Early reports said Texas appeared to have escaped major damage from the hurricane.

Hurricane Laura made landfall as a powerful Category 4 hurricane early Thursday morning in Louisiana with 150 mph winds and more than 9 feet of storm surge that ripped buildings to pieces, knocked out power to hundreds of thousands and inundated the coastline.

The first death caused by Laura was reported about 8 a.m. CDT. A 14-year-old girl was killed when a tree fell on her home in Leesville, Louisiana, according to the governor’s office. Leesville, in Vernon Parish, is about 95 miles inland.

The storm made landfall at 1 a.m. CDT Thursday near Cameron, Louisiana, where an estimated 150 people in the surrounding parish had refused to evacuate, according to the Associated Press. Some planned to ride out the storm in elevated homes, while others were reportedly in recreational vehicles.

“As we wake up today, everyone must remember that the threat #Laura poses to Louisiana is ongoing. Stay home, continue to heed the warnings and instructions of local officials and monitor your local news to stay informed,” tweeted Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards.

In Calcasieu Parish, the parish just to the north of Cameron, Dick Gremillion, director of emergency management, told The Weather Channel there was “a lot of tree damage, a lot of utility damage.”

He said trees fell on homes and mobile homes turned over. Laura ripped roofs off commercial buildings, Gremillion said, who added that it would be several hours before officials could begin to survey the damage because the parish was still experiencing 50 mph sustained winds as of 6 a.m. CDT.

Power outages were skyrocketing in Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi as the storm carved its way inland. Nearly 609,000 customers were without electricity by 9 a.m., according to poweroutage.us.

Early reports before the sun came up could only hint at the devastation. Images shared on social media showed buildings in downtown Lake Charles, Louisiana, with every window blown out. One storm chaser said the falling glass had injured some people. Lake Charles is about 45 miles north of where Laura made landfall.

Another image showed high winds tipping over a large RV camper. The transmission tower for Lake Charles TV station KPLC collapsed into a heap like a bunch of Tinkertoys.

The first daylight video from a drone showed homes surrounded by water with shingles stripped off roofs. Giant pine trees lay across other houses. As the drone flies over a motel, you can see through exposed rafters into the second-floor rooms.

Tony Guillory, president of Calcasieu Parish’s police jury, said nearly every home in the parish had some type of damage.

“Wait to come home. Wait. I know everybody wants to come back and clean up their yards, but there’s no electricity and no water,” Guillory told KPLC.

“As I ride around it is bad all over. This is going to be down for a while. It’s hit us hard,” he said.

Guillory rode out the hurricane in a government building in Lake Charles. He said the building started swaying about 2 a.m. as it was buffeted by Laura’s high winds. He said some of the people who chose not to evacuate began calling for help about that time.

“People are calling the building but there ain’t no way to get to them,” he told The Associated Press, adding he hoped they could be rescued later Thursday if the roads were passable.

Parts of Interstate 10 in Louisiana were shut down late Wednesday night ahead of anticipated flooding from Hurricane Laura.

Gov. Bel Edwards tweeted that the interstate was closed eastbound at the Texas-Louisiana state line and westbound from the Atchafalaya Basin. The closure affects an estimated 120 miles of that interstate.

As the storm intensified on approach late Wednesday, Bel Edwards could only speak bleakly.

“I will tell you we are certain that at this time tomorrow we will be doing search-and-rescue for a large number of individuals, many of whom are going to need to require sheltering after that for some period of time before they can go home,” he told Fox News.

Texas
Texas appeared to have escaped widespread damage, KHOU reported.

Orange, Texas, along the Sabine River on the border with Louisiana, was one of the hardest hit areas. Mayor Larry Spears told KTRK trees were down, streets were littered with debris and some businesses lost roofs, but he expected much worse.

Video on KHOU showed a church in Orange that was damaged by the storm.

Highway 87 on the Bolivar Peninsula in Galveston County was covered with rocks that Laura dumped on the roadway. The county and the cit of Galveston lifted their mandatory evacuation orders.

The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.
Hurricane Laura Moves Inland Across Louisiana With Damaging Winds, Flooding Rain and Tornadoes After Category 4 Landfall

Hurricane Laura Moves Inland Across Louisiana With Damaging Winds, Flooding Rain and Tornadoes After Category 4 Landfall

  • Laura made landfall near Cameron, Louisiana, early Thursday with winds of 150 mph.

  • Wind gusts of 100 to 135 mph have been recorded in southwestern Louisiana.

  • Laura is now tracking inland across western Louisiana with damaging winds.

  • Laura is also an inland flood risk as far north and east as Arkansas and the Ohio and Tennessee valleys.

  • Isolated tornadoes are also expected from Laura.

  • High water levels from storm surge will continue in coastal areas.

Hurricane Laura made landfall early Thursday morning and is now tracking northward across western Louisiana with threats of destructive winds, flooding rainfall, storm surge and tornadoes.

Current Status
Laura made landfall near Cameron, Louisiana, at 1 a.m. CDT as a strong Category 4 with 150 mph winds, southwest Louisiana’s first Category 4 landfalling hurricane on record, according to NOAA’s historical database.

Laura is now tracking through western Louisiana as a Category 2 hurricane this morning. The hurricane’s winds will slowly weaken as it moves farther inland toward Arkansas today.

Laura has produced the following wind gusts in Louisiana early Thursday morning:

-Lake Charles: 134 mph

-Calcasieu Pass: 127 mph

-Cameron: 116 mph

-Alexandria: 85 mph

The winds have knocked out power to more than 500,000 homes and businesses in southeast Texas and Louisiana, according to poweroutage.us.

Extensive wind damage was reported in Lake Charles, Louisiana, including numerous shattered windows in downtown skyscrapers, a communication tower collapsed, power poles toppled and roofs shredded.

Hurricane warnings have been dropped at the immediate cost, but continue for inland parishes of Louisiana and counties of east Texas, including as far north as Shreveport.

Tropical storm warnings extend as far north as central Arkansas, including Little Rock.

A storm surge of just over 9 feet inundated the coast near Cameron, Louisiana, around the time of Laura’s landfall. The worst of the storm surge may have been just east of Cameron, though no weather instruments were available to measure it.

It’s possible the track of Laura, while producing destructive winds in the hurricane’s eyewall, may have tracked just far enough east to spare the Lake Charles metro area a much worse fate from surge flooding.

West to southwest winds to the south of Laura’s center did pile water from Lake Charles into parts of downtown Lake Charles several hours after landfall early Thursday morning, in areas that were previously dry, according to storm chaser Chris Jackson. A peak storm surge of around 4.65 feet was measured by a gauge along Lake Charles downtown.

Storm surge of 3 to 5 feet was also measured around Vermilion Bay, along the south-central Louisiana coast. Some water pushed up the Vermilion River into parts of Lafayette, Louisiana, early Thursday.

Storm surge of about 2.4 feet was recorded in Port Arthur, Texas, and about 4 feet at Galveston.

A storm surge warning remains in effect from High Island, Texas, to the mouth of the Mississippi River in southeast Louisiana.

NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center has issued a tornado watch valid until 4 p.m. CDT for parts of Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi. The watch area includes Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Jackson and Little Rock.

Forecast
Track and Intensity

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) forecast shows Laura will track generally north on Thursday and then turn more to the east by Friday.

Laura should weaken to a tropical storm later Thursday as it moves into Arkansas. It’s predicted to weaken to a tropical depression as it tracks toward Kentucky and Tennessee on Friday.

Wind

The core of Laura’s strongest winds are now in central and western Louisiana. Wind gusts over 80 mph are possible near where the center of Laura tracks through western Louisiana this morning.

The winds will contribute to widespread power outages possibly lasting for days, if not over a week, downed trees and structural damage.

The potential for tree damage and power outages will affect areas farther inland along the path of Laura across eastern Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and western Tennessee.

Heavy Rain Threat

Laura will also spread heavy rain far inland through parts of the lower and middle Mississippi valleys, Ohio Valley, Tennessee Valley and the mid-Atlantic into Saturday.

Flash flood watches have been issued by the National Weather Service from Louisiana and eastern Texas to as far north and east as Arkansas, western Kentucky, western Tennessee, far northern Mississippi and extreme southern Illinois.

Here’s a look at what rainfall totals can be expected along the path of Laura, according to NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center and the National Hurricane Center.

Thursday Into Friday:

-Parts of southwestern Louisiana and the Golden Triangle of southeastern Texas: 8 to 12 inches, with isolated amounts up to 18 inches.

-Eastern Texas, central and western Louisiana: 5 to 10 inches, with isolated amounts of 15 inches.

-Arkansas: 3 to 7 inches, with isolated totals of up to 10 inches.

The rainfall in these areas could lead to widespread flash flooding, especially in urban areas, and minor to moderate river flooding that could linger for some time after Laura leaves.

Friday into Saturday:

-Mid-Mississippi Valley, Tennessee Valley and lower Ohio Valley: 2 to 4 inches, with isolated totals up to 6 inches.

-Mid-Atlantic: 1 to 3 inches.

Localized flash flooding and urban flooding is possible in these areas.

Tornadoes

Landfalling hurricanes sometimes produce tornadoes to the east of where the storm’s center tracks.

The area with the greatest chance of seeing a few tornadoes from Laura on Thursday is from much of Louisiana into western Mississippi and Arkansas.

Friday’s threat of isolated tornadoes from Laura will be from portions of the lower Mississippi Valley into the Tennessee Valley and lower Ohio Valley. This includes eastern Arkansas, northern Mississippi, northern Alabama, southeast Missouri, western and central Kentucky and western and middle Tennessee.

Storm Surge Threat

The highest storm surge is expected along and to the immediate east of the center of Laura as it moves ashore Wednesday night into early Thursday. Areas from the far upper Texas coast into southwest Louisiana will have an “unsurvivable storm surge,” the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

The NHC predicts an inundation of 15 to 20 feet above ground level from Johnson Bayou, Louisiana, to Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge, Louisiana, including Calcasieu Lake, if it occurs at high tide. A storm surge of 10 to 15 feet above ground level is also possible from Intracoastal City, Louisiana, to Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge, Louisiana.

The National Hurricane Center said storm surge could penetrate up to 40 miles inland from the coast in southwest Louisiana and far southeast Texas.

See the map below for other storm surge peak inundation forecasts from the NHC.

Follow the advice of local and state officials if you are ordered to evacuate an area prone to storm surge flooding.

Laura’s History
Tropical Depression Thirteen formed in the Atlantic last Wednesday night (Aug. 19) and strengthened into Tropical Storm Laura on Friday morning (Aug. 20.)

Laura is the earliest Atlantic ‘L’ named storm on record. The previous record was Luis on Aug. 29, 1995, according to Phil Klotzbach, tropical scientist at Colorado State University.

Laura brought heavy rainfall and gusty winds to the Leeward Islands and Puerto Rico later Friday through Saturday.

Southern parts of Puerto Rico picked up 2 to 6 inches of rainfall.

Winds gusted up to 75 mph at Salinas, along Puerto Rico’s southern coast.

Portions of the Dominican Republic picked up nearly a foot of rain from Laura over the weekend, which triggered serious flash flooding in some areas.

Sustained winds of 60 mph with a gust over 70 mph was measured in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Sunday evening.

Laura made landfall on the Pinar del Rio province in western Cuba around 8:00 p.m. Monday with maximum sustained winds of about 65 mph.

A wind gust of 69 mph was measured in Key West, Florida, Monday afternoon as a line of showers associated with Laura moved through.

Laura became the fourth hurricane of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season Tuesday morning, based on measurements taken by NOAA hurricane hunter aircraft.

Laura had 150 mph winds when it made landfall at 1 a.m. CDT on Thursday near Cameron, Louisiana. It was southwest Louisiana’s first Category 4 hurricane landfall on record, dating to 1851, according to Steve Bowen, meteorologist with Aon.

The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.