Unfortunately the predictions of continued strengthening for Hurricane Laura have proven accurate. Hurricane Laura now holds sustained winds near 125 MPH with additional strengthening likely prior to landfall later tonight. This will makes Laura likely a Category-4 hurricane upon landfall.
[Comparison: Hurricane Charley – August 2004 / Hurricane Michael – Oct 2018]
All residents in the impact zone (approximately 70 miles in diameter) are urged to evacuate the coastal areas. Remember, you can hide from wind, but you cannot escape a dangerous storm surge. Take every precaution to protect your family.
[Hurricane Center] – At 1000 AM CDT (1500 UTC), the eye of Hurricane Laura was located near latitude 27.0 North, longitude 92.0 West. Laura is moving toward the northwest near 16 mph (26 km/h). A gradual turn toward the north-northwestward and north is expected later today and tonight. On the forecast track, Laura will approach the Upper Texas and southwest Louisiana coasts this evening and move inland within that area tonight. The center of Laura is forecast to move over northwestern Louisiana tomorrow, across Arkansas Thursday night, and over the mid-Mississippi Valley on Friday. (more)
As many long-time readers will know, we do have a little bit more than average experience dealing with the aftermath of hurricanes. I ain’t no expert in the before part; you need to heed the local, very local, professionals who will guide you through any preparation, and neighborhood specific guidelines, for your immediate area.
But when it comes to the ‘after part’, well, as a long-time CERT recovery member perhaps I can guide you through the expectation and you might find some value. Consider this little word salad a buffet, absorb what might be of value pass over anything else.
A category-4 storm can and will erase structures, buildings and landscape. This storm is very similar to Hurricane Charley which impacted the SW coast of Florida in 2004. The coastal topography will likely change in the 60 mile wide area of immediate impact.
Total infrastructure failure should be anticipated and it will take weeks for restoration. The coastal communities are the most vulnerable; however, the inland impact of the storm will continue unimpeded until the eye-wall crosses onto land.
That means communities inland for 50 miles will likely see consistent 100+ MPH winds for several hours. That scale of sustained wind energy will snap power poles and reinforced concrete.
As the backside of the storm then reverses the energy direction, any already compromised structures will not withstand the additional pressure. In many cases the backside of the storm is worse than the front. If you are inland, prepare yourself for a long duration of extensive wind damage followed by an extended power outage.
For those who are in the path of the storm, there comes a time when all options are removed and you enter the “Hunkering Down” phase. You’re just about there now. Fortunately, just like Charley, this particular hurricane will move fast and that might mitigate some of the coastal storm surge (only one part of one tidal cycle). However, in totality from impact through recovery this is going to be a long-duration event.
It is almost a guarantee the gulf coastal area will lose significant power. Do not expect the power to be turned back on until it is safe and an assessment has been made.
Hurricanes can be frightening; downright scary. There’s nothing quite like going through a few to reset your outlook on just how Mother Nature can deliver a cleansing cycle to an entire geographic region. The sounds are scary. Try to stay calm despite the nervousness. Telephone and power poles, yes, even the concrete ones, can, and likely will, snap like toothpicks. Trees will bend and break; the sounds are dramatic.
There’s a specific sound when you are inside a hurricane that you can never forget. It ain’t a howl, it’s a roar. It is very unique sound in depth and weight. Yes, within a hurricane, wind has weight. Stay clear of windows and doors, and within an interior room of the house or apartment if possible. That scary roar sounds like it won’t ever quit…. it will… eventually; but at the time you are hunkering down, it doesn’t seem like it will ever end.
A hurricane wind is a constant and pure rage of wind that doesn’t ebb and flow like normal wind and storms. Hurricane wind is heavy, it starts, builds and stays; sometimes for hours. Relentless, it just won’t let up. And then, depending on Laura’s irrelevant opinion toward your insignificant presence, it will stop. Judging by the forward speed the hurricane force wind will likely last around 2 hours before it stops.
If you can evacuate for this storm it is highly advised that you do so. Any CTH reader who needs assistance do not hesitate to reach out in the comments section or send us an email. We will do everything we can to support you and your family.
Stay safe. Remember, hunker down from wind, but evacuate from water. Do not stay near the coastal areas of this storm… go inland. Prayers for all those in the path.