Why Hurricane Laura’s storm rise might ravage Texas and Louisiana

Why Hurricane Laura's storm surge could devastate Texas and Louisiana

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Hurricane Laura, now a Category 4 storm, is barreling towards the coasts of Louisiana and Texas with winds of 140 miles per hour and the hazard of an “unsurvivable” storm rise with big and damaging waves that “will cause catastrophic damage,” according to the National Hurricane Center. 

Laura’s storm rise might reach as high as 15 to 20 feet in some locations and travel as far as 30 miles inland. The storm might likewise bring flash flooding and twisters on land.

“The water is already coming up,” stated National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham alerted on Wednesday. “If you’re told to leave, you need to do it now because what happens is the water comes in early and you start cutting off your evacuation routes.” 

Storm rise is water level increase triggered by cyclone winds and low pressure pressing water onto coast, and is worsened when striking a seaside location throughout high tide. Depending on when the storm strikes, Laura might accompany high tide.

A Category 4 cyclone brings specifically strong winds of in between 130 and 156 miles per hour that make storm rise even worse and more damaging.

Flooding has actually begun

The topography of south Louisiana, which remains in the direct course of Laura, is specifically susceptible to a strong rise. Much of the land in between the coast and the city of Lake Charles is marshland and there are networks of rivers and lakes that face the Gulf of Mexico. 

A strong storm rise will press all that water inland, worsening flooding and destructive residential or commercial properties. According to the NHC, the storm rise will show up ahead of Laura’s center late Wednesday, which implies if individuals postpone leaving, the roadways might currently be swamped.  

“The storm surge flooding is starting now in Louisiana,” Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards stated in a press conference Wednesday afternoon. “It’s well ahead of the storm. It will just get worse over the next day or so.”

People board buses at the Port Arthur Civic Center to leave the city ahead of Hurricane Laura on August 26, 2020 in Port Arthur, Texas.

Eric Thayer | Getty Images

The rise might rise to 30 miles inland from the shoreline in between Sea Rim State Park, Texas, and Intracoastal City, Louisiana and might raise water levels as high as 20 feet in parts of Cameron Parish, Louisiana, according to the NHC. 

Forecasters stated the rise will likely reach Interstate 10, a main path in between south Louisiana and southeastern Texas that was swamped throughout Hurricane Harvey in 2017.


“To think that there would be a wall of water over two stories high coming on shore is very difficult for most to conceive, but that is what is going to happen,” stated National Weather Service meteorologist Benjamin Schott at a press conference.

“The word ‘unsurvivable’ is not one that we like to use, and it’s one that I’ve never used before,” Schott stated. 

The NHC alerted on Wednesday early morning that “only a few hours remain to protect life and property” as Laura makes its method towards the coasts of Texas and Louisiana.

Climate modification has actually led to hotter climatic and ocean temperature levels in addition to water level increase, which integrated have actually driven more extreme and quickly establishing cyclones with more harmful rises.  

This year’s cyclone season is on track to turn into one of the worst in documented history as sea surface area temperature levels continue to increase in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, according to forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center. 

Demeteri Bushnell is hugged by her terrific niece as they and other evacuees prepare to board a bus as they are left by regional and state federal government authorities prior to the arrival of Hurricane Laura on August 26, 2020 in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

Joe Raedle | Getty Images

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