• ITVI.USA
    15,487.730
    -50.360
    -0.3%
  • OTRI.USA
    25.300
    0.130
    0.5%
  • OTVI.USA
    15,446.060
    -51.850
    -0.3%
  • TLT.USA
    2.720
    0.000
    0%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    2.550
    -0.030
    -1.2%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    3.030
    -0.080
    -2.6%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.450
    0.150
    11.5%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    2.910
    -0.030
    -1%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    1.700
    -0.040
    -2.3%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    3.020
    -0.010
    -0.3%
  • WAIT.USA
    120.000
    0.000
    0%
  • ITVI.USA
    15,487.730
    -50.360
    -0.3%
  • OTRI.USA
    25.300
    0.130
    0.5%
  • OTVI.USA
    15,446.060
    -51.850
    -0.3%
  • TLT.USA
    2.720
    0.000
    0%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    2.550
    -0.030
    -1.2%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    3.030
    -0.080
    -2.6%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.450
    0.150
    11.5%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    2.910
    -0.030
    -1%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    1.700
    -0.040
    -2.3%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    3.020
    -0.010
    -0.3%
  • WAIT.USA
    120.000
    0.000
    0%
InsightsNewsWeather and Critical Events

Major Hurricane Laura slams Gulf Coast overnight (with forecast video)

Life-threatening storm surge continues Thursday

Hurricane Laura crashed into the Gulf Coast overnight as a Category 4 storm, lashing southwestern Louisiana with 150-mph sustained winds.

“There will be parts of Lake Charles underwater that no living human being has ever seen before.” – Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards

Laura — the region’s strongest storm in more than a century — made landfall near Cameron, Louisiana, around 2 a.m. CDT Thursday. By 5 a.m., the storm had weakened to Category 3 but was still producing powerful winds of 120 mph.

SONAR Critical Events and radar: Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020, 8 a.m. EDT; Major HurricaneLaura

In Lake Charles, Louisiana, buildings shook as the winds howled. Roofs were torn apart, heavy objects blown over and hundreds of thousands of people without electricity, according to PowerOutage.US.

Water levels along the coast rose rapidly, and National Hurricane Center (NHC) forecasters warned of devastating winds and a potentially “unsurvivable” storm surge of up to 20 feet in some areas. Storm surge will remain a threat during high tide Thursday morning from southwestern Louisiana to the upper Texas coast.

“There will be parts of Lake Charles underwater that no living human being has ever seen before,” Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards told WWL Radio. “We are marshaling all of our people and assets to go in … and start a very robust search-and-rescue effort.”

It will be easier to assess the damage after sunrise.

Laura tied with a hurricane from more than 160 years ago for the strongest storm to hit Louisiana. The 1856 hurricane also had winds of 150 mph when it made landfall in Louisiana, according to CNN meteorologist Brandon Miller.

Laura was centered about 30 miles northwest of Lake Charles as of 8 a.m. Thursday, moving to the north at 15 mph. The NHC is expecting Laura to continue weakening as it moves farther inland.

The hurricane’s storm surge could spread up to 30 miles inland across southwestern Louisiana and far eastern Texas, reaching all the way to Interstate 10 between Beaumont and Lake Charles.

Rainfall totals of 6 to 12 inches through Friday, with isolated pockets of 15 to 18 inches, will add to the flooding threat in portions of Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas. Isolated tornadoes could also hit some of these areas.

Prior to the hurricane’s arrival, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) closed portions of I-10 in the southwestern part of the state.

Port Houston terminals will remain closed Thursday, while ports in Louisiana remain open with restrictions on vessel and freight movement.

United Airlines has suspended booking and movement of cargo at George Bush Intercontinental Airport until 11:59 p.m. CDT Thursday, and some truck stops in the hurricane’s impact zone may still be closed.

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Nick Austin.

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Nick Austin, Director of Weather Analytics and Senior Meteorologist

In his nearly 20 years of weather forecasting experience, Nick worked on air at WBBJ-TV and WRCB-TV, including time spent doing weather analysis and field reporting. He received his Bachelor of Science in Meteorology from Florida State University as well as a Bachelor of Science in Management from Georgia Institute of Technology. Nick is also a member of the American Meteorological Society and National Weather Association. As a member of the weather team at WBBJ-TV in Jackson, Tennessee, Nick was nominated for a Mid-South Emmy for live coverage of a major tornado outbreak in 2008. As part of the weather team at WRCB-TV in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Nick shared the Chattanooga Times-Free Press Best of the Best award for “Best Weather Team” for eight consecutive years. Nick earned his National Weather Association Broadcasting Seal in 2005.
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