The Houston area is bracing for a significant storm as Hurricane Laura barrels down on the Gulf Coast.
According to Tuesday morning projections by the National Hurricane Center (NHC), Laura is strengthening in the Gulf of Mexico and is expected to become a major hurricane, with winds potentially exceeding 110 mph, when it makes landfall late Wednesday or early Thursday. The storm is tracking toward southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana but could shift, and it is expected to impact a large geographical area.
“Do not focus on the details of the official forecast given the typical uncertainty in NHC’s track and intensity predictions,” reads a 10 a.m. advisory from the NHC. “Storm surge, wind and rainfall hazards will extend well away from Laura’s center along the Gulf Coast.”
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said Monday that because of expected high winds associated with Laura, residents should remove any loose items from their property that could become projectiles.
Harris County said in a news release Tuesday that residents near the coast “should make preparations now to ensure the safety of life and property.”
“While tracks will likely continue to shift slightly over the next two days, residents should be ready to act on their hurricane plans within the next 24 hours,” the county said. “It is vital that all residents closely monitor trusted sources and follow the instructions of local officials.”
The county encourages residents to follow the following safety instructions:
- Review your family’s emergency plan, including what you will do if you stay or if you evacuate.
- Remember to take into account that social distancing, regular handwashing and face coverings are still needed for COVID-19.
- If you live in an evacuation zone (Zip Zone) and will need assistance evacuating for a storm that threatens our region, now is the time to call 2-1-1 or go online to register for assistance.
- Make sure your disaster kit is fully stocked, with enough supplies for each family member, including pets.
- Do not forget about special items for babies, elderly and medically fragile family members.
- Fuel vehicles and generators now.
- Know where important documents are and take pictures of your property for insurance purposes.
- Go to www.readyharris.org for hurricane preparedness information and to sign up for Ready Harris Alerts to stay informed.
- Get updates from trusted sources such as: National Weather Service Houston-Galveston, Harris County Flood Control District, and ReadyHarris.