Overnight Hurricane Laura continued to strengthen and is now a Category 3 Hurricane. The latest forecast shows Laura making landfall as a Category 3 or 4 Hurricane early Thursday morning somewhere between Port Arthur and Lake Charles. Regardless of the exact landfall location, major damage and life-threatening conditions remain along the Texas/Louisiana Border. Those in that region are encouraged to complete all preparations by 6 PM this evening. For those not within evacuation zones, agencies are encouraging everyone to avoid driving, especially on Hurricane Evacuation Routes, to keep routes clear for those under mandatory evacuations.
Overall Fort Bend County will receive less severe weather than those along the Texas/Louisiana Border. Similar to yesterday’s forecast, Fort Bend County along with many areas on the west of downtown Houston have a 20 to 50% chance of experiencing Tropical Storm Force Winds (1-Minute Average ≥ 39 MPH). Although less damaging than Hurricane Force Winds, TS Winds are still capable of causing downed trees and tree limbs as well as displacing debris and other loose objections. Everyone is encouraged to secure any loose items around structures and remain indoors as the storm passes. Once the storm passes, whether you are clearing debris from your own home or assisting others, remember to proceed with caution. Use proper safety measures when clearing limbs and downed trees and watch for hidden damage such as downed powerlines.
The most significant rainfall continues to remain to our east. The latest Quantitative Precipitation Forecast (QPF) continues to show Fort Bend County receiving around 1 inch of rain with some areas possible receiving isolated amounts closer to 2 inches. According to the NWS Weather Prediction Center (WPC), eastern portions of Fort Bend County has a marginal risk (5%) of receiving excessive rainfall amounts causing flash flooding conditions.
As mentioned, the most severe weather should remain well east of Fort Bend County; however, the District along with our District Engineer and Operator are continuing to monitor the situation and are ready to respond as needed. We encourage everyone to stay informed by visiting your favorite local weather source, including the National Weather Service, the National Hurricane Center, and West Gulf River Forecast Center. If you have not ready down so, please remember to sign up for Emergency Updates from Fort Bend County.