Tropical storm Laura is expected to bring Tropical Storm force winds to Southeast Texas by Wednesday morning with hurricane force winds following Wednesday night into Thursday morning.
“Today is the day to make preparations,” National Weather Service Lake Charles Meteorologist Donald Jones said during Monday morning briefing.
Marco has been downgraded to a Tropical Storm and is not expected to bring significant rainfall or winds to the region.
“Laura should enter the Gulf of Mexico tomorrow morning, and from there forward conditions should be very favorable for intense development,” Jones said.
The track has not shifted significantly, with Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana still being in the cone of uncertainty.
Projections from the National Weather Service showing Tropical Storm Laura’s path to hit closer to the Texas/Louisiana border caused Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick to issue disaster declarations Sunday.
Trajectories for both Hurricane Marco and Tropical Storm Laura shifted westward Sunday as the day went on, with Marco reaching category 1 status Sunday afternoon before being downgraded again.
Laura is expected to make landfall as a category 2 hurricane, with the possibility of it becoming a category 3.
“Strong category 2 landfall with wind speeds of 105 mph,” Jones said. “Plan as if it is going to be a category 3.”
Southeast Texas will be on the west-side of the storm, downplaying the threat of storm surge, but some areas of Jefferson County could still see those impacts.
“Should this track to the west (Southeast Texas) would be dealing with a much more significant threat,” Jones said.
In direct coastal areas storm surge could be as high as 10 ft. and impact areas as far as 30 mi. inland.
While all storms are unique, Jones said the current track is comparable to Hurricanes Ike and Rita.
“That kind of gives you an idea of what it could look like,” Jones said. “Tropical storm force winds Wednesday morning, with the Hurricane force winds coming Wednesday night.”
The NWS has upgraded their confidence level, after widely shifting models the area of landfall is likely to remain the same as the storm approaches.
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