August 24, 2020

Preparing for Tropical Storm Laura

Over the past several days the forecast models for Tropical Storm Laura have seemingly been all over the place, made even more unpredictable by the influence of Hurricane Marco (now downgraded back to a tropical storm).  Today the picture is a bit clearer, and while neither Laura’s path nor intensity are yet certain, experts are telling us we need to be prepared.  Based on what we know now we should anticipate at least moderate impacts, and potentially severe should the storm shift more in our direction and strengthen into a major hurricane, both very much still possibilities.

The good news, if you can call it that, is that there’s currently no reason to fear we’re in for a repeat of the widespread and significant flooding we experienced during Hurricane Harvey three years ago.  Laura is expected to keep moving inland once it makes landfall, unlike Harvey, which sat parked on top of us and dumped more than a trillion gallons of water onto Harris County over four days.  Depending on the extent of storm surge in the region, however, drainage outflows could be overwhelmed for a period of time with localized flooding a cause for concern.  The more probable threat is high winds, similar to what we got in Hurricane Ike in 2008, which may result in property damage and prolonged power outages.  Regardless, we need to be taking this very seriously.

The Bellaire Emergency Operations Center is at Level III—Increased Readiness—and is actively monitoring the situation in coordination with state and county emergency management officials.  Whatever Laura brings our way, we’ll be ready.

Mass evacuations from our part of the metro area are unlikely, but should you choose to leave, be sure to take into account COVID-19 safety measures, too, especially if you’ll be staying with family or friends.  Whatever your plans, continue practicing social distancing and good hygiene as you make your final storm preparations.  Consider curbside pickup and contactless delivery services for stocking up on supplies if you’ll be riding out the storm at home.

For additional information please check out our hurricane preparedness resource page, and don’t forget to sign up for Notify Me and the PrepareBellaire emergency alert system.