Hurricane Laura battling dry air, but expected to intensify into a Category 4 storm

Forecast to hit Texas and Louisianan with 115 mph winds

Battling dry air, but expected to slowly intensify in the Gulf

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Hurricane Laura is a strong Category 2, with maximum sustained winds of 110 mph. Satellite images show some changes within the thunderstorms around the eye of Laura, showing better organization and distribution of rain around the eye, but also indicating Laura may be battling dome dry air to the north and west of the center of the storm.

The European forecast model still predicts a more westward track, closer to Houston. The NHC acknowledges this and in their discussion notes, “the current forecast track lies to the east of the ECMWF and UKMET models, so it is still possible that the forecast track could nudge westward in later advisories.”

As of 5 a.m. Wednesday, Hurricane Laura was 315 miles southeast of Lake Charles, Louisiana with maximum sustained winds of 110 mph. Laura was moving west-northwest at 15 mph.

This general motion with some decrease in forward speed is expected over the next couple of days. A turn toward the northwest is forecast by Wednesday. On the forecast track, the center of Laura will move over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico. Laura is expected to move over the central and northwestern Gulf of Mexico Wednesday with landfall early Thursday.

Strengthening is forecast as the storm moves over the Gulf of Mexico, and Laura is forecast to become a Category 4 hurricane today.

The path it toward the Texas Louisiana boarder with possible landfall early Thursday morning.

From Wednesday afternoon into Friday, Laura is expected to produce rainfall of 5 to 10 inches, with isolated maximum amounts of 15 inches across portions of the west-central U.S. Gulf Coast near the Texas and Louisiana border north into portions of the lower Mississippi Valley. This rainfall could cause widespread flash and urban flooding, small streams to overflow their banks, and minor to isolated moderate river flooding.

Tropical storm winds are expected to spread westward within the warning area in Cuba through today. Tropical storm conditions are expected in Little Cayman and Cayman Brac today.Tropical storm conditions are also expected within the warning area in the middle and lower Florida Keys and the Dry Tortugas this afternoon and tonight.

ONLINE TOOLS: Interactive tracking map | Plan and Prepare

This was the 13th tropical depression for this season, a record for the earliest 13th tropical depression of any season (169 years).