Tropical Storm Laura continues to be a fairly disorganized system early this evening, as the latest information from the National Hurricane Center’s 8 p.m. advisory is similar to what was noted earlier today.
Based on the latest data, Laura is still generating an area of sustained winds of 45 mph that makes it a tropical storm-strength feature.
Notable with this evening’s news is that Laura remains a fast-moving storm system with the data showing forward speed at 17 mph. As of 8 p.m. Friday that puts the storm’s center 40 miles east of Anguila.
One of the most important developments in the past 24 hours revolves around where the center of this storm is. Based on Hurricane Hunter aircraft data, earlier today the center of the storm is identified further south than yesterday, meaning the forecast cone has been revised a touch as well.
This southward shift in the storm’s center means that more interaction with land over Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and Haiti is possible. This is typically a limiting factor in terms of how strong a storm can get, so is a notable change in the past 24 hours.
The shift also pulls Southwest Florida just outside of the forecast cone. Though that’s good news, it’s no reason to celebrate.
Unlike tornadoes or severe thunderstorms, hurricanes are not a relatively small dot on the map. Just because the center of a storm misses us doesn’t mean that it won’t bring us any weather.
So let’s be grateful for the pieces of good news we’ve picked up over the last day but continue to be prepared in case the trend moves back in our direction.
It’s important to keep in mind that Tropical Storm Laura is a separate storm from Tropical Depression 14 that’s in the Caribbean Sea. That system, though aiming long-term toward the Gulf of Mexico is not a direct threat to us in Southwest Florida.
For the latest on that system, follow this link.
Are you prepared for hurricane season? Get caught up on what you should have prepared for the season by downloading the 2020 NBC2 First Alert Hurricane guide PDF here.