Thursday, February 22, 2024

Hurricane Laura hit Louisiana with extreme winds

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Note: The maps below are no longer updated.

Hurricane Laura made landfall in the southwest corner of Louisiana at around 1 a.m. local time Thursday as a Category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of around 150 mph. It’s the strongest storm to hit Louisiana since the last hurricane on the island in 1856.

Initial reports indicated wind damage in Lake Charles, Louisiana, including high-rise buildings with many windows blown out. There was also a major storm surge, more than 10 feet in some places it was still going on at dawn. However, that appears to have been short of the “insurvable” wave with highs of up to 20 feet that the National Hurricane Center predicted on Wednesday.

“Right now, I believe we’ve had a storm surge break – about half of what was projected,” Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards told CNN Thursday morning.

Thursday morning the governor’s office confirmed The state’s first death, a 14-year-old girl who died after a tree fell on her home. The office said more deaths should be reported.

Laura was the first storm named L recorded in the Atlantic Basin. The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season is currently on track to compete with 2005, when Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, as the busiest on record.

Laura weakened to a tropical storm Thursday afternoon. You can follow the latest forecast with the maps below.

Wind trajectory forecasts and probabilities

This updated map shows the best predicted track and forecast winds for the storm. Use the control at the top right to toggle between the probability of tropical storm force winds (over 39 mph) and hurricane force winds (over 74 mph).

Forecast of the path and the rain in the next 7 days

This updated map shows the best predicted track that Laura overlaid on the rain forecast for the next seven days.

“These rains will cause widespread flash and urban flooding, small streams and streams will overflow from their banks and minor to moderate flooding of freshwater rivers,” the NHC warned Thursday morning.

On Sunday, meteorologists feared the Gulf Coast would receive an unusual punch from one to two successive hurricanes. Tropical Storm Marco, which passed between Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula and Cuba on Saturday, is expected to make landfall as a hurricane. But it weakened quickly before making landfall near the mouth of the Mississippi on Monday.

See National Hurricane Center reviews for more information.


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