Hurricanes

Part of the Austin Convention Center is being used to shelter Hurricane Laura evacuees.
Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

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Some Hurricane Laura evacuees who came to the Austin area can return home, Central Texas officials said just after 4 p.m. Thursday.

People in Jefferson County, Texas, where Hurricane Laura was projected to cause serious damage, are breathing a sigh of relief Thursday after the storm moved into Louisiana and points north without leaving too much impact on the community. Now many of those southeast Texas residents are working on cleaning up what little damage there is.

Hurricane Laura is destroying buildings, sparking flash floods and bringing a "catastrophic" storm surge to southwestern Louisiana on Thursday morning, remaining a fearsome hurricane more than seven hours after making landfall.

Laura rapidly intensified into an extremely dangerous storm as it neared land, with the Gulf of Mexico's warm waters spinning its maximum sustained winds up to at least 150 mph.

Officials say 135 shelter spaces will be set up at the Austin Convention Center for Hurricane Laura evacuees.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

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The City of Austin is working to open a portion of the convention center to serve as a shelter for Hurricane Laura evacuees.

Updated at 1:30 a.m. ET Thursday

Hurricane Laura made landfall at 1 a.m. ET Thursday with extreme winds and an expected "catastrophic" storm surge in parts of Texas and Louisiana, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Hurricane Laura moves toward the Texas-Louisiana border Wednesday morning.
National Hurricane Center

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The City of Austin is no longer turning away Hurricane Laura evacuees after the Circuit of the Americas was reopened as a rest area Wednesday at 10 a.m.

NOAA/NESDIS/STAR GOES-EAST

Galveston residents fleeing the path of Hurricane Laura are being bused to Austin’s Circuit of the Americas. From there, they’ll be placed in local hotels until it’s safe to go back to the Gulf Coast.

Updated at 10:24 a.m. ET Wednesday

Hurricane Laura is "rapidly intensifying" and will make landfall late Wednesday or early Thursday as a major hurricane, according to the National Hurricane Center.

As of Wednesday morning, Laura is a Category 3 storm with maximum sustained winds of at least 115 mph. Forecasters predict a storm surge from 9 to 14 feet when it strikes near the Louisiana-Texas border.

Updated at 11:50 p.m. ET

Tropical Storm Marco has made landfall near the mouth of the Mississippi River but it is Tropical Storm Laura that has Louisiana and Texas residents bracing for what could be the strongest storm since 2005's Hurricane Rita — still ranked as the most intense tropical cyclone on record in the Gulf of Mexico.

The National Hurricane Center's update from Sunday morning on Tropical Storm Marco.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

State and local officials are urging Texans to prepare for a major emergency as the potential for back-to-back hurricanes threatens the Gulf Coast and the coronavirus pandemic continues.

Ahead of the storms, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Sunday declared a disaster and requested a federal emergency for 23 Texas counties.

The National Hurricane Center's update from Sunday morning on Tropical Storm Marco.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Updated 12:45 p.m. CDT Sunday

The National Hurricane Center has updated the projected path of Tropical Storm Marco to show the storm hitting the southeastern coast of Louisiana as a Category 1 hurricane Monday evening before heading into Texas by Wednesday.

Updated on Aug. 23 at 4:30 a.m. ET

Two tropical systems — Marco and Laura — are heading toward the Gulf of Mexico, and both are expected to become hurricanes before they near the U.S. mainland early next week, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The current forecast sees both storms hitting the near Louisiana, with Marco arriving on Monday and Laura on Wednesday.

Cots in the Smithville Recreational Center during Hurricane Harvey in 2017.
Martin do Nascimento / KUT

The coronavirus arrived in Central Texas with the spring. That meant no South by Southwest and an early end to the school year. It also meant people stuck at home, at least, enjoyed some pretty good weather.

That’s likely about to change.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

From Texas Standard:

According to the latest predictions, Louisiana is likely to be hardest hit by a storm that could become a hurricane, if Tropical Storm Barry continues to gain strength. Luckily for Texas, the state likely won’t get much rain from that weather system. Nevertheless, it’s a good reminder for Texas to look at how well it’s prepared for the next major storm.

NASA/Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

From Texas Standard:

Scientists are warning that new 5G internet connectivity could interfere with their ability to forecast the weather. Now, they're bringing their concerns to Congress.

Updated at 5:30 a.m. ET Thursday

Tropical Storm Michael is weakening as it churns across south-central Georgia.

On Wednesday, Michael was the strongest hurricane to make landfall in the continental U.S. in more than a quarter-century, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Hurricane Florence is moving relentlessly toward the Southeastern U.S. It's a large, powerful cyclone that will likely bring storm surge and high winds to coastal communities.

But climate scientists say one of the biggest threats posed by Florence is rain.

rhaaga/Flickr [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]

From Texas Standard

Oil companies have long been blamed for playing a role in climate change. But now, those companies are asking the government to protect their interests from the harsher storms and higher tides connected with global warming.

Companies on the Texas Gulf Coast, which is still recovering from Hurricane Harvey, are pushing for a 60-mile stretch of sea walls and levees that would help protect homes, beaches and, yes, oil infrastructure, from the next big storm.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Chemical plants and oil refineries spewed millions of pounds of toxic chemicals into the air and on the ground after Hurricane Harvey struck Texas a year ago. Some parts of the state did a better job than others in controlling those emissions and spills, according to a new report that tries to take lessons from Harvey to better prepare for the next storm.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

You’ve probably noticed it’s been a hazy summer in Austin. And you may have heard that's because of massive clouds of dust blown across the ocean from Africa. That fact alone inspires awe.

But it turns out there is much more to these dust clouds than the distance they travel.

From Texas Standard.

What can we learn from hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria? To answer that question, and to facilitate planning for future storms, seven universities in Florida, Louisiana and Texas are pooling their money to put together what could be a first-of-its-kind center for hurricane research.

Karen/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Weather watchers are tracking ominous activity in the Gulf of Mexico. An Air Force Reserve helicopter is on standby, ready to fly to a spot off Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula where a storm system is building steam.

Staff Sgt. James L. Harper, Jr., USAF, via flickr/chucksimmins

Over seven years after hurricanes Ike and Dolly devastated the Texas coast, $3.1 billion in federal disaster relief remains unspent. It's a number that recently became a point of focus at a state Senate Committee hearing on disaster recovery.


Let's face it: Bill isn't the most exotic name for a tropical storm or, as it is now, a tropical depression.

Sure, as far as storm names, it was meme-worthy, but it didn't conjure the gravitas or mystique that, say, Odalys or Gaston might. So, we thought it might be eye-opening to dig into the list of names given to tropical storms — agreed upon by the World Meteorological Organization — by testing whether you could spot a fake one. Take the quiz below, and let us know which names surprised you in the comments. 

Hurricane Season Begins

May 31, 2013
flickr.com/jomatt

Hurricane season officially starts Saturday, June 1, and Texas leaders are calling on Texans to be prepared.

Emergency response agencies staged their annual hurricane exercise Friday at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

flickr.com/yumievriwan

Insurance companies doing business in Texas have counted their losses after reviewing the state’s  catastrophic weather events last year.

According to the Insurance Services Office, a catastrophic event is a weather or man-made event that causes at least $25 million or more in insured property losses and affects a significant number of people. Texas had seven catastrophic events in 2012, and it cost insurance companies some $2.3 billion in losses.

Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Hurricane Isaac is affecting gas prices across the state.

The average price of a gallon of unleaded is going for $3.66 in Austin – that's up ten cents from last week.

AAA Texas says the main reason for the price increase is that several refineries along the Gulf Coast closed before Isaac hit land. But analysts say gas prices will come down if the refineries re-open without storm damage.

The Latest At 11:06 P.M. ET Little Change In Strength

The National Hurricane Center says Hurricane Isaac will continue moving near or over the southeastern coast of Louisiana on Tuesday night, and move inland during the next day or so.

"Little change in strength is forecast tonight," it said at 10 p.m. CDT. "Slow weakening is expected after that."

As we reported earlier, widespread flooding was expected. Isaac was moving toward Baton Rouge, La.

NOAA

Hurricane Isaac will probably stay too far east to bring rain to Central Texas, but forecasters believe it will bring windy weather which will then make way for higher temperatures.

Hot, dry and breezy weather is the same combination that we had last Labor Day weekend before the devastating wildfires. But Lower Colorado River Authority Chief Meteorologist Bob Rose says things aren’t quite the same.

"We’re not looking at as extreme of critical fire weather conditions as we had last Labor Day weekend," Rose says. "Fortunately this summer we’ve had periods of rain from time to time, we have a little bit greener vegetation and the ground has a little more moisture in it. So the conditions going into this weekend are already not nearly like what they were last year."

NOAA

Good morning. Expect a high near 95 and a slight chance of showers this Tuesday. Here’s some of this morning’s top stories.

Austin School Board Sets Budget

The Austin ISD Board of Trustees gathers to act on a budget this evening.

The board will vote on a $1 billion spending plan Tuesday night that provides a one-time three percent pay raise for staff by drawing money from its emergency checking account.

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