At 10 P.M. Central Time Tuesday, Hurricane Laura has entered the Gulf of Mexico and is quickly gaining strength, moving WNW at 17 mph. The maximum sustained winds have increased to 90 mph as the pressure steadily drops–now down to 978 millibars. This storm is showing signs of rapid intensification, as the pressure has now dropped 12 millibars in just 6 hours.
Laura is expected to reach AT LEAST category 3 strength with 120 mph winds before making landfall Wednesday night/Thursday morning near the Texas/Louisiana state line.
Tropical storm-force winds (39 mph or greater) are expected to expand as far East as Jackson, Mississippi and as far West as Dallas, Texas.
Over 9 feet of life-threatening storm surge is likely across a large swath of Southern Louisiana. Those with interests in the area need to follow the advice of local emergency officials. Laura will be a very powerful storm when making landfall in the pre-dawn hours Thursday. The threat of storm surge is expected to expand as far West as Houston & Galveston, and as far East as New Orleans & Lake Pontchartrain.
As with all landfalling tropical cyclones, there is a risk of severe weather in the storm’s right front quadrant. As Laura moves onto land and farther inland, Alabama may see a small see a risk of severe weather Thursday night/Friday morning, as will all areas on the storm’s right-hand side. We’ll be monitoring for this possibility as the forecast progresses. As of right now, though, the tropical storm-force wind field is likely to stay to our Southwest. Stay tuned!