Fifteen years ago today, Tropical Storm Katrina was inching closer to the Gulf of Mexico targeting the Louisiana coastline. While Laura is NOT forecast to be the potent storm we saw back in 2005, it is forecast to be come a Category 2 storm and make landfall somewhere along the Louisiana/Texas gulf coast. Right now, maximum sustained winds are at 60mph, and the storm is racing towards the west northwest at 20 mph.
Laura's speed is expected to decrease over the next 24-36 hours-- and that decrease in speed...coupled with low wind shear and an abundance of warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico is why it is forecast to become a hurricane later this week. Tropical systems need sea surface temperatures of at least 80 degrees in order to maintain and/or strengthen-- and with sea surface temperatures int he mid to upper 80s in parts of the Gulf of Mexico, we may rapid intensification.
In any case, the system will weaken as it moves over land, but will maintain deep tropical moisture. That moisture--will eventually lift towards the north and east and clash with a cold front that will sliding our area this weekend. The combination of the two systems will lead to showers and thunderstorms Friday and Saturday...and I cannot rule out the chance of severe weather.
Cooler, drier air moves into the area heading into Sunday-- making it the clear weekend winner. Sunny skies and unseasonably cool temperatures stick around through the beginning of next week!