After Tropical Storm Marco fell apart in the Gulf of Mexico, Tropical Storm Laura increased and now is considered a major hurricane threatening Southeast Texas and parts of Louisiana. For the latest in regards to hurricane strength, water damage, closures and evacuation orders, see our running blog.
See below for the latest updates:
1:00 AM: Hurricane Laura made landfall near Cameron, LA as a Category 4 Hurricane with sustained winds over 150 mph.
The storm is expected to have an “unsurvivable storm surge with large and destructive waves” that will cause catastrophic damage from Sea Rim State Park, Texas, to Intracoastal City, Louisiana, including Calcasieu and Sabine Lakes, according to the National Hurrican Center. Parts of eastern Texas and western Lousiana are forecast to see “catastrophic wind damage.”
8:00 AM: Laura has continued to gain strength is now a Category 3 storm.
4:02 AM: Laura has strengthed to a category 2 hurricane and is expected to be a major category 3 or near category 4 hurricane at landfall with winds of 120-130 mph. Landfall is still expected to arrive around Wednesday night into early Thursday morning.
Hurricane and Storm Surge Warnings have been extended from San Luis Pass and eastward along the upper Texas coast with warnings additionally stretching to Louisiana, east Texas, almost all the way into Oklahoma and Arkansas. Currently, a tropical storm warning is in effect for Houston.
ADDITIONAL SCHOOL CLOSURES: The following districts have announced schools will be closed as the area braces for Hurricane Laura:
- Alief ISD is closing Wednesday through Friday (Aug 26-28).
- Alvin ISD is closed Wednesday and Thursday (Aug 26-27).
- College of the Mainland is closed through Friday.
- Dayton ISD is closing Wednesday through Friday (Aug 26-28).
- Fort Bend ISD is closing Wednesday and Thursday (Aug 26-27).
- Friendswood ISD is closing Wednesday through Friday (Aug 26-28).
- Goose Creek is closing Wednesday through Friday (Aug 26-28).
- Houston ISD is closed Wednesday and Thursday (Aug 26-27).
- Lamar CISD is closed Wednesday through Friday (Aug 26-28).
- Needville ISD is closed Wednesday through Friday (Aug 26-28).
- Pasadena ISD is closed through Thursday (Aug 27).
- San Jacinto College is closed Wednesday and Thursday (Aug 26-27).
- Shepherd ISD is closed Wednesday through Friday (Aug 26-28).
- Splendora ISD closed Wednesday and Thursday. All remote learning will be suspended these two days as well.
- Spring Branch is closed Wednesday and Thursday (Aug 26-27).
- Sweeny ISD is closed Wednesday and Thursday (Aug 26-27).
- Texas City ISD is closed Wednesday and Thursday (Aug 26-27).
- UH Clear Lake is closed as of 7:30 a.m. Wednesday (Aug 26) and will re-open on Monday (Aug 31).
- University of Houston is moving instruction online Wednesday through Friday (Aug 26-28).
ADDITIONAL EVACUATIONS ANNOUNCED: The following areas and counties have announced evacuation orders in lieu of Hurricane Laura:
- Zones A & B in Harris County: A voluntary evacuation order. has been established for areas along Galveston Bay such as Friendswood, Webster, Seabrook, La Porte, Morgans Point, Nassau Bay, Clear Lake, El Lago, Taylor Lake Village and Shoreacres.
- Galveston County: Mandatory evacuation order for Bolivar Peninsula, including unincorporated areas of Port Bolivar, Crystal Beach, High Island and Gilchrist.
- La Porte: La Porte is under a voluntary evacuation order.
- Lake Jackson: Voluntary evacuation order for low-lying areas outside the hurricane levee.
- Texas A&M Galveston: A mandatory evacuation of the campus was announced on Tuesday.
Harris County Toll Road fees have been waived immediately due to Hurricane Laura.
La Porte ISD has announced early dismissal for noon on Tuesday (Aug 25) and all district operations will be suspended through at least Thursday.
Santa Fe ISD has an early release of 12 p.m. on Tuesday (Aug 25) and there will be a full district closure from Tuesday until Thursday (Aug 27)
Baytown has announced voluntary evacuation for those living within the ZIP codes of 77520 and 77523. Click here for more information.
LAURA: Tropical Storm Laura is now Hurricane Laura according to the National Hurricane Center with a forecast expected to reach the northwestern Gulf Coast as a hurricane late Wednesday and early Thursday. The storm is expected to be a major category 3 hurricane at landfall with winds sustained at 115 mph.
Brazoria County has announced a voluntary evacuation order for low-lying coastal communities that are outside of the protection levee.
Galveston has upgraded its evacuation order to mandatory effective Tuesday. Additionally, Galveston ISD will be closed today (August 25) through the remainder of the week.
Huffman ISD is canceling school on Tuesday and Wednesday as a precautionary measure to help staff and families prepare for potential weather concerns in the area.
7:05 PM: Multiple cities and countries along the Southeast have issued mandatory evacuation orders in the wake of the dual tropical storms.
CITIES ORDERED TO EVACUATE:
- Port Arthur – mandatory evacuation effective at 6 a.m. Tuesday.
- Galveston – Residents who live in low-lying areas west of the end of the seawall are encouraged to evacuate.
- Orange County – mandatory evacuation effective at 6 a.m. Tuesday.
- Chambers County – voluntary evacuation order, especially for residents in low-lying or flood-prone areas or those whose homes have flooded during recent high-rain events.
- Seabrook – voluntary evacuation for residents and businesses in low-lying areas, specifically lower Todville from Red Bluff south to SH 146 and Baywood Drive.
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice announced it is evacuating the secure facilities and a portion of a fourth facility, along with three residential facilities in the Beaumont and Jasper Areas. The facilities are:
- Beaumont Residential Reentry Center
- Two Transitional Treatment Centers
- Gist State Jail
- LeBlanc Unit
- Portions of the Stiles Unit in Beaumont
- Goodman Unit in Jasper.
The following school districts have announced closures.
- Galveston Independent School District: Crenshaw School of Bolivar Peninsula will be closed for the remainder of the week. All other Galveston ISD campuses will remain open for remote learning Tuesday.
- Anahuac Independent School District: Closed from August 25 thru August 28th.
- Brazosport Independent School District: Closed from August 25 thru August 27 with no in-person or virtual classes during the days of the closure.
- Brazosport College: Closed started at 5 p.m. on August 25 through August 27.
MARCO: Marco downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm on Sunday (August 23), hours after Houston was placed back into the cone of uncertainty. On the far end of the forecast track, the storm will weaken to a tropical depression sometime late Tuesday or early Wednesday.
The storm is expected to make landfall along the Southeast Louisiana coast on Monday and weaken as it makes its way inland. Heavy rain and wins in the 50-60 mph range will be the initial impacts in Louisiana.
LAURA: Tropical Storm Laura has not strengthened into a hurricane yet but its projected path according to ABC 13 Houston puts the storm growing into a category 1 or category 2 hurricane and affecting Southeast TX and Southeastern Louisiana sometime between Wednesday (August 26) and Thursday (August 27).
Laura has already affected parts of the Caribbean, including the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Haiti.
UPDATE: AUGUST 21
Current projections have Marco officially being named a hurricane around Monday (August 24) and then most likely landfall would be made on Tuesday (August 25). Laura would be a Category 1 hurricane by August 26, and pushing close towards the Mississippi River and pushing it towards the Texas/Louisiana border. The potential impact for Laura arrives around Thursday (August 27) and Friday (August 28). At the moment, expect plenty of rain on Monday and Tuesday.
So what should you do? Follow all hurricane preparedness measures. The path and severity of Marco and Laura are unclear but it is more than likely that Texas is expecting to be impacted.
- Add new supplies to your preparation kit.
- Water, batteries, flashlights and first aid kits are common in hurricane preparedness kits but in the midst of COVID-19, get extra masks, hand sanitizer and soap.
- Stay locked in to local newscasts. We’ll be giving you the latest information on storms and what to do as well as high-water areas should things get severe.
- Add new supplies to your preparation kit.
Hurricane Laura: Here’s What We Know So Far [UPDATED] was originally published on theboxhouston.com