The Calcasieu Parish School Board confirmed Sunday that all CPSB schools, facilities and virtual learning will be closed through Wednesday, Aug. 16, due to the potential threat of tropical weather from Hurricane Marco and Tropical Storm Laura. CPSB will provide an update on the status of schools for the remainder of the week no later than 5 p.m. Wednesday.
The closures come after weather forecasts predict that Southwest Louisiana will be subject to heavy rainfall, likely tropical storm force winds and potentially hurricane force winds over the next three days.
Confidence in forecasts for both Marco and Laura have diminished since the 10:30 a.m. National Weather Service briefing. NWS meteorologist Donald Jones said confidence in forecast certainty “has gone out the window.”
Instead of its previously projected landfall in Southeast Louisiana, Hurricane Marco, currently a Category 1 with 75 mph winds, may instead, skim along the southern coast of the state and parts of Texas, if it makes landfall at all.
Jones said, in an afternoon weather update Sunday, tropical storm warnings have been issued for Southwest Louisiana for Monday night, indicating the chance for winds of 40 mph or greater within a 24-hour period from Cameron, east along the coast, possibly extending inland to the I-10 corridor.
A tropical storm surge warning is in effect from Sabine Pass, east to Morgan City. A storm surge of 1 to 3 feet above ground level is possible for Southwest Louisiana in the late Monday, early Tuesday time frame. Depending on where rain bands form, local amounts of 2-4 inches are possible Tuesday.
Tropical Storm Laura
Jones said it's still too early to have any certainty about Laura. The storm's track is still pointing to a Southwest Louisiana landfall Wednesday night as a Category 2. Laura is currently a strong tropical storm with maximum sustained winds at 60 mph. Jones said a strengthening to a Category 3 is “becoming more and more likely.”
It is currently traveling between the west coast of Haiti and the east coast of Cuba, meaning the storm's center has been positioned over the warm water, allowing it to intensify. “It looks pretty impressive from a structural point of view,” he said of the storm. It is forecast to move into the Gulf of Mexico tomorrow and intensify further into a hurricane.
Hurricane force winds are possible across the region beginning Wednesday and continuing Thursday. At the coast, water could surge more than 10 feet above ground level. Depending on where Laura makes landfall, Jones said storm surge could back up rivers and bayous and flood more than 30 miles inland. At the moment, the National Hurricane Center is forecasting winds of up to 100 mph and rainfall from 6-10 inches around the eye of Laura.