WATCH: Laura weakens to tropical storm as it moves inland; Gov. Edwards tours storm damage from helicopter
KPLC-TV’s CONTINUING COVERAGE OF LAURA
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) released the following information in its 7 p.m. advisory on Laura:
LOCATION: 34.2 N 92.4 W, about 35 miles south of Little Rock, Ark.
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS: 40 mph
PRESENT MOVEMENT: North-northeast at 15 mph
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE: 992 mb
Laura continues to produce flooding and rainfall over portions of Arkansas.
At 7 p.m., the center of Tropical Storm Laura was located near latitude 34.2 North, longitude 92.4 West. Laura is moving toward the north-northeast near 15 mph (24 km/h), and this motion should continue through tonight. A northeastward to east-northeastward motion is expected to begin on Friday and continue into Saturday. On the forecast track, the center of Laura is forecast to move over Arkansas tonight, the mid-Mississippi Valley on Friday, the mid-Atlantic states on Saturday, and over the western Atlantic on Sunday. Maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 40 mph (65 km/h) with higher gusts. Continued weakening is forecast, and Laura is expected to weaken to a tropical depression later this evening. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 90 miles (150 km) from the center. The estimated minimum central pressure based on surface observations is 992 mb (29.29 inches).
INFORMATION FROM THE WAFB FIRST ALERT STORM TEAM:
Hurricane Laura moved ashore Cameron Parish around 1 a.m. Thursday morning. Laura was a Category 4 hurricane at landfall with winds of 150 mph. Laura will most certainly go down as one of the strongest hurricanes to ever make landfall in the entire state of Louisiana. Devastating impacts are expected along the southwest Louisiana coast and several miles inland. Laura has begun to weaken as it moves north through west Louisiana.
Even as Laura continues to track through the west Louisiana, southeast Louisiana will continue to be impacted by tropical rain bands and feeder bands coming off the Gulf of Mexico. Within these tropical bands will be heavy downpours, gusty winds, and a possibility for a few tornadoes. The entire WAFB area is under a Tornado Watch until 4 p.m. and under a Flash Flood Watch until 7 p.m.
The main concerns locally will be the threat for isolated tornadoes and localized flash flooding. Areas most susceptible to flash flooding will be low-lying, poorly drained areas (i.e. ditches, streams, bayous, and roads). Additional rainfall of 2″ to 3″ will be possible through Thursday and into a portion of Friday. Friday’s rains will be limited in coverage, but still could provide for an occasional heavy rain shower. Strong gusty winds associated with these bands could still cause sporadic power outages across the WAFB area.
Water continues to build up in the tidal lakes of Lakes Pontchartrain and Maurepas due to persistent southerly winds. This is causing a rise along the lower reaches of the Amite, Tickfaw, Natalbany, and Tangipahoa rivers. While major flooding is not currently forecast, we could see some low-lying spots including access roads to homes and camps become impassable. Any potential minor river flooding upstream will be related to rainfall amounts in catch basins. At this time, rainfall amounts in those catch basins shouldn’t deliver any flooding effects, but that will be something the First Alert Storm Team watches closely.
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