Why Hurricane Laura’s storm surge will be devastating

Bolivar after IKE courtesy weather.gov
Bolivar after IKE courtesy weather.gov

I flew over Bolivar two days after Hurricane Ike scraped the peninsula clean and the picture above is what I saw from the helicopter. My heart broke. Southwestern Louisiana went through Hurricane Rita in 2005 with similar results and now, in what looks to be almost the same spot, they will suffer through Hurricane Laura tonight.

There are many reasons this will be so devastating, but the surge is poised to be some of the most decimating. Here’s why:

Wind

Winds drive surge and right now winds are being reported (7 am) as 115 mph. The more wind, the more water is pushed toward the coast. The new 0Z European model below shows a landfalling hurricane with 136 mph winds! A strong Category 4 hurricane AT LANDFALL. UPDATE: NHC is calling for 145 mph winds at landfall! This will be crushing. I highlighted the estimated knots per hour below:

European Model showing an estimated 136mph wind at landfall

So the wind alone will buzz-saw the strike zone.

Geography

Now, look at the coast, an area that is concave. When water hits a concave coast, it has nowhere to go but up:


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