Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) – Locally our weather will remain very summer like through Saturday. Tonight, will be warm and muggy with lows only reaching the mid to upper 70s under partly cloudy skies. The next several days we will see highs reach the low 90s, but with the humidity the heat index will range from 100 to 105! Rain chances will be 40% through Saturday, and most likely in the afternoon hours.
Beyond Saturday our forecast is still somewhat uncertain due to Tropical Storm Ida which is currently located southeast of the Cayman Islands. It is expected to continue moving northwestward until landfall sometime late Sunday or early Monday.
Unfortunately, any hope of this missing the United States appears to be gone, and it is growing very likely that someone along the upper Gulf coast may see a major hurricane make landfall! And because it is already farther north landfall will likely occur sooner too.
There is still a fair amount of uncertainty regarding the track, even though today the models have grown very consistent on a landfall over Louisiana or Mississippi. I expect this variability to decrease Friday morning when additional data gets put into the computer models. Right now, the forecast cone includes the entire coast of Louisiana and thus everyone should prepare for a possible hurricane. Though I expect some areas will be removed from said cone as landfall grows near.
As of 10 p.m. Thursday a Hurricane Watch is in effect from Cameron to the Mississippi/Alabama border; this means portions of Cameron parish are included in this watch. That means hurricane force winds are possible within the next 48 hours. Also a Storm Surge Watch has been issued from Sabine Pass to the Florida border; this means a storm surge is possible in these areas. But the greatest surge would be east of the center at landfall. If the eastward trends continue the watch could be trimmed down, but we likely won’t see that until the landfall location becomes more certain.
It is too early to talk any specific impacts to SWLA because of the uncertainty on the track. But for now it would be best to plan for gusty winds and higher seas. So, pick up or secure any loose items you may outside your home, if it could blow away then secure it so it does not. Also make sure you know what your next step is if there is a change in the track toward our area. You need to think about where you would go if you were evacuating; and keep in mind other areas may be in the path too. That call may never come for that depending on the track, and I think we will know that more Friday.
So here is the bottom-line: SWLA is in the forecast cone of a potential major hurricane, and we should be preparing for that now. However model trends have been going in a positive direction for us with tracks farther east. Unfortunately, that is not set in stone just yet, hopefully we get more clarity on that Friday. It looks very likely that someone from Louisiana to Mississippi will see major hurricane as soon as Sunday!
Be sure to stay tuned to KPLC for updates and be very careful about other information you may find on social media. I have seen a lot of disinformation and downright incorrect information posted and then shared. We here at KPLC do not believe in hyping things up and will always tell it to you straight; if we see a problem ahead, we will let you know. Stay calm and we will get through whatever hopefully does not come our way…
Chief Meteorologist Wade Hampton
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