Catastrophic Hurricane Laura Safety: 12:50p Wednesday

As of 12:40pm, Laura has continued to strengthen as is now a Cat 4. Please see blog posts above this for the latest on the storm's intensity. 

Scroll down for evacuation and safety suggestions. 

-- Original Posting Below -- 

The message is: Get out if you are in the white area on the map below and along or south of Interstate 10. I don't care if you have lived through a hurricane in the past. Get out. It is the only way to insure you save your life. 

From the National Hurricane Center:
“Unsurvivable storm surge with large and destructive waves will cause catastrophic damage from Sea Rim State Park, Texas, to Intracoastal City, Louisiana, including Calcasieu and Sabine Lakes.

Everything we feared is coming to pass: Hurricane Laura is a major hurricane and still intensifying. In the vicinity of the eye, the winds and storm surge will be catastrophic. 
Updated satellite image from 9:36am CDT
The eye has now "cleared out" -- a very bad sign.
The storm continues to strengthen rapidly.
As of 10a, Hurricane Hunters report sustained winds of 125 mph and a pressure 956mb which is down another 7 mb since 4am. The strengthening continues. The satellite shows the eye is becoming more defined with time...another bad sign.

Below is an approximate path (it may vary a bit to the east or west) and peak gusts from the storm. Note the gusts are more than sufficient to cause power failures at least as far north as Interstate 20.

The map below defines the path of the eye. However, the width of the winds is much larger than the eye.
Brown = hurricane force winds (>75 mph). Amber = winds 40 to 74 mph. M = major hurricane. S = winds 40-74 mph. D = depression with winds < 40 mph. 

At landfall, sustained winds are forecast to be 130 150 mph with gusts to 165 mph!

Even worse, if that's possible, is the storm surge.
The 15-20' storm surge near the passage of the eye does not include astronomical tides nor does it include the high waves of a a hurricane. I still like The Weather Channel's graphic of how far inland the storm surge will go.

Here is a forecast for the City of Lake Charles. At 13,' "half the city is flooded." This is a forecast for a record 15.6 feet! Much of the city will be flooded.

This is what the damage looks like from this type of storm. Buildings will be flooded and fail due to the winds and surge.

Tornadoes and flooding will occur inland. Forecast rainfall below. 

I can't stress it strongly enough: get out if you are near the coast and in the white area ("the cone") on the map at the top of this posting.

I would recommend not evacuating to a hotel within the while zone if it is located south of Interstate 20. The winds will be strong enough to cause power failures as far north at I-20.

If you are in an evacuation area, get it done immediately. 
  • Make a hotel/motel reservation well inland. There is no point to getting on the road and finding everything already sold out. Be sure and cancel if you do not need the room.
  • Make provisions for infirm friends/relatives well in advance. 
  • Get prescriptions filled before you evacuate. 
  • Visit the ATM to make sure you have adequate cash for a week on the road. 
  • Put an app like AccuWeather's on your smartphone. It will keep track of your location and automatically provide the latest emergency warnings as you are on the go. 
  • Your "Go-Kit" should include at least two masks per person, soap, hand sanitizers, disinfectant wipes and, if available, disinfectant spray. Have clothes for at least a week. No one cares how stylish you are. If you are at a pharmacy, pick up some surgical gloves and, if you don't have them, work gloves. 
  • Fill your car with fuel. I still recommend a road atlas or map in addition to whatever navigation system you might have. 
  • Power failures are likely. If you have a generator, fill it with fuel. If you wish to purchase a portable generator, do not put it in the garage, indoors, or anywhere near an air intake. Carbon monoxide is a danger. 
  • Consider taking your passport or putting it in your safe deposit box. If the worst happens, you'll need it to prove identity for disaster documents. It will be difficult to recover in a ruined home.
  • Take at least two large bottles of water for each family member along with protein bars or other easy-to-carry food. 
  • If you decide to stay home, make sure you have a working fire extinguisher, non-electric can opener, and a first aid kit. 
  • Put your insurance documents in your safe deposit box or take them with you. This will facilitate filing a claim if you have serious property damage. 
You can get more information from me on Twitter @usweatherexpert.

And, if you would like to read about how meteorologists warn of hurricanes and other violent storms, go here


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