Hurricane Laura predicted to make landfall as a Category 3 hurricane, evacuations ordered for parts of Texas and Louisiana


NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (Flickr)

The season’s fourth hurricane could be a Category 3 storm

Ivana Venema-Nunez, Reporter

Hurricane Laura is predicted to be a Category 3 hurricane by the time it reaches land on Wednesday night or Thursday morning.  It is the fourth hurricane so far this season, none have been Category 3 or above.

111 mph to 130 mph winds and nine-12 foot storm surge accompany Category 3 storms, and are capable of causing widespread, extensive damage.

Winds have been steadily intensifying throughout Tuesday in the central Gulf of Mexico and were recorded at 80 mph at 5 p.m. and up to 85 mph at 8 p.m.  At this point the storm is considered a Category 1 hurricane but is expected to pick up speed to 115 mph making it a Category 3, forecasters reportedly said. 

According to the Sun-Sentinel, as of Tuesday evening, a hurricane warning was in effect for nearly 200 miles of coastline between San Luis Pass, Texas and Intracoastal City, La.  A hurricane warning means that hurricane conditions conditions should be expected at any time within the next 36 hours.

The article reported that evacuations have been announced for the cities of Beaumont, Galveston and Port Arthur, Tex., affecting around 383,000 residents.  Another 200,000 were ordered to leave low-lying Calcasieu Parish in southwest Louisiana.  The announcement marks the largest U.S. evacuation during the pandemic.

“The hurricane should approach the Upper Texas and Southwest Louisiana coasts on Wednesday night and move inland near those areas late Wednesday night or Thursday morning,” the hurricane center said.

After a significantly weakened hurricane Marco hit the coast of Louisiana on Monday, it dissipated on Tuesday, according to the National Hurricane Center.  Laura was right behind Marco on the same body of water simultaneously. 

”We’re talking about something that’s on the order of 10 feet (storm surge) and that’s going to penetrate well inland,” meteorologist Ed Rappaport said.

As of  8 p.m. on Wednesday, Hurricane Laura was 435 miles southeast of Lake Charles in Louisiana and moving west-northwest at 17 mph, according to the Sun-Sentinel article.