Laura Still a Major Hurricane Hours After Landfall
As of the 0500 CDT update to the 0400 CDT advisory from the National Hurricane Center, Hurricane Laura is still a major hurricane. The system was located about 50 miles north of Lake Charles and is moving toward the north at 15 miles per hour. This track will carry the center of circulation to very near Shreveport over the next several hours.
Hopefully, the storm will continue to weaken as it moves inland. But it's faster than usual forward speed has been a double-edged sword., so to speak. The fast forward motion has alleviated some of the flooding aggravation normally associated with slower-moving storms. But, the faster motion means a stronger system moving inland.
Currently, over 300,000 Louisiana residents are without power. That number will grow as Laura moves inland over the heavily wooded sections of west-central Louisiana. The abundance of trees, especially pine trees, will likely create even bigger headaches for the many utility companies that bring power to our home.
There is also the continued threat of tornadoes, which could do even more damage, across much of Louisiana. The Storm Prediction Center is suggesting that almost the entire state is at risk for the development of tornadoes, at least for the next several hours.
Forecasters with the Hurricane Center speculate that Laura will remain at Hurricane status until later this afternoon. Aside from wind damage and a severe weather threat, the other issue that will have to be addressed with Laura is flooding. There is still plenty of moisture wrapped up in this system and unfortunately, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Mississippi are going to face the brunt of that.
By the way, if you weren't aware the system made landfall very near Cameron Louisiana. It was a strong Category 4 at the time of landfall. The fact that it might still be a Category 1 storm as it moves through Shreveport, a distance of just under 250 miles, is very impressive.
The Hurricane Center will provide updates on the system hourly while it remains at hurricane status. The system should weaken to a tropical storm as it moves in to Arkansas and Tennessee. From there it will sweep across the Appalachian Mountains and bring a lot of rain to the Eastern Seaboard.