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A couple weeks ago parts of eastern Iowa experienced what it's like to be in a category 4 hurricane first hand. Wednesday night another monster is on the loose and by the time many of you read this, it will have caused catastrophic damage where it comes ashore in SW Louisiana and extreme NE Texas. I present Laura to you with sustained winds of 150 mph, gusts much higher. That is a very healthy ominous looking hurricane with a symmetrical eye wall with a diameter of 25-30 miles wide...what's known as the stadium effect.

The wind will wreak its own havoc but near the coast the storm surge will reach extreme levels that could break records. In spots it could reach 20 feet with 5-7 foot waves on top of that. The National Hurricane Center describes it as an unsurvivable and catastrophic surge of water that could reach 40 miles inland.

Make no mistake about it, some terrible scenes will be coming out of SW Louisiana and the Cameron and Lake Charles area Thursday morning. I have no doubt there is going to be loss of life and tremendous destruction, hopefully people headed the warnings. As bad as this is likely to be, it is very fortunate this did not come ashore over a major population base such as Houston or New Orleans as the intensity is likely to be stronger than Katrina when she made landfall. You can see the storm below splitting the two big cities.

To give you and idea of what people are facing, these are the 10 meter wind gusts the EURO is forecasting. 10 meters is about 9.5 feet above ground. The model tends to be high on these by 25 percent. Lets hope so as it's showing a gust to 199 mph off the Louisiana coast.

There will be plenty of rain with the system but as it heads for the Midwest it is intercepted by the westerlies aloft and directed into the Ohio Valley bypassing the Midwest.

Following that grim hurricane news, heat continues to be a player here in the Midwest. In Cedar Rapids the high of 94 was the 4th consecutive day in the 90s and it tied Monday as the warmest day of the entire summer. It looks like readings will hover around that 90 degree mark through Friday before a much cooler air mass prevails the second half of the weekend. The EURO shows this for highs the next 4 days.

In my area there is some threat of thunderstorms Thursday night in the north and then again Friday in the east as fronts play around in those areas. SPC does have a slight risk for strong storms in northern Iowa Thursday night but the subsidence from Laura to the south and a stout cap will make it a challenge to get things much further south than far northern Iowa. Right now I'm not expecting much in my area from that set-up unless you are north of HWY 20.

Chances improve some for storms Friday and Friday night as a front provides some needed forcing. Most models are not impressed with rain amounts but SPC has increased its risk assessment from slight to enhanced. The primary concern is the threat of strong winds. Since the window of opportunity for strong storms is still 36 hours away there is still uncertainty in the severe potential. I have my doubts and I consider this part of the forecast low confidence. We will watch it.

Meantime, Thursday looks like a repeat performance with another hazy lazy dog day. I would suggest enjoying the the toasty temperatures as it's within the realm of possibility it might be more than 8 months before we get this warm again. Roll weather...TS

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