Tropical Cyclone 13L (Laura)…is located 380 miles southeast of Galveston, Texas
Gulf of Mexico: Tropical Cyclone 13L (Laura)
Laura has been upgraded to a Category 2 hurricane, and is forecast to reach major hurricane status as a Category 3, prior to landfall. A major hurricane has maximum sustained winds of at least 111 mph.
Hurricane Laura is expected to intensify over the Gulf of Mexico and strike the upper Texas or southwest Louisiana coasts late Wednesday or early Thursday.
Life-threatening storm surge and damaging winds will affect areas near where Laura makes landfall. Laura is also an inland flood risk as far north as Arkansas or southern Missouri. Isolated tornadoes are also expected from Laura.
According to the NHC Advisory 25A…Laura is moving toward the west-northwest near 17 mph (28 km/h), and this general motion should continue overnight. A turn toward the northwest is forecast later today, and a northwestward to north-northwestward motion should continue through Wednesday night. On the forecast track, Laura should approach the Upper Texas and southwest Louisiana coasts on Wednesday evening and move inland near those areas Wednesday night or Thursday morning.
Data from an Air Force Reserve Unit reconnaissance aircraft indicate that maximum sustained winds have increased to near 105 mph (165 km/h) with higher gusts.
Significant strengthening is forecast during the next 24 hours, and Laura is expected to be a major hurricane at landfall. Rapid weakening is expected after Laura makes landfall. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 55 miles (90 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles (280 km). NOAA buoy 42001 in the central Gulf of Mexico recently reported a sustained wind of 60 mph (97 km/h) and a gust to 78 mph (126 km/h).
HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND
STORM SURGE: The combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline. The water could reach the following heights above ground somewhere in the indicated areas if the peak surge occurs at the time of high tide…
High Island TX to Morgan City LA including Sabine Lake, Calcasieu Lake, and Vermilion Bay…7-11 ft
Port Bolivar TX to High Island TX…4-6 ft
Morgan City LA to Mouth of the Mississippi River…4-6 ft
Mouth of the Mississippi River to Ocean Springs MS including Lake Borgne…3-5 ft
San Luis Pass TX to Port Bolivar TX…2-4 ft Galveston Bay…2-4 ft Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Maurepas…2-4 ft
The deepest water will occur along the immediate coast near and to the right of the landfall location, where the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves. Surge-related flooding depends on the relative timing of the surge and the tidal cycle, and can vary greatly over short distances.
RAINFALL: Laura is expected to produce the following storm total rainfall accumulations:
Rainfall will be coming to an end across western Cuba this morning with additional rainfall totals of 1 to 2 inches possible.
From Wednesday afternoon into Saturday, Laura is expected to produce rainfall of 4 to 8 inches, with isolated maximum amounts of 12 inches across portions of the west-central U.S. Gulf Coast near the Texas and Louisiana border north into portions of the lower Mississippi Valley. This rainfall could cause widespread flash and urban flooding, small streams to overflow their banks, and minor to isolated moderate river flooding.
WIND: Tropical storm conditions are expected to continue within the warning area in western Cuba during the next few hours. Tropical storm conditions are also expected for the Dry Tortugas for a few more hours.
Hurricane conditions are possible in the hurricane watch area along the Gulf Coast by late Wednesday, with tropical storm conditions possible by Wednesday afternoon.
SURF: Swells generated by Laura are affecting portions of Cuba, the central Bahamas, and the Florida Keys. Swells are expected to spread northward along portions of the west coast of Florida peninsula and the coast of the Florida panhandle later today and tonight, and reach the northern and northwest Gulf coast by Wednesday. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.