Here’s what concerns Hurricane Laura could bring to Baton Rouge area

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    Signs direct residents to a sand bag station at the St. Tammany Parish Government building at 21410 Koop Dr. in advance of Hurricane Laura in Mandeville, La. Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020. (Photo by Max Becherer, NOLA.com, The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate)

    Signs direct residents to a sand bag station at the St. Tammany Parish Government building at 21410 Koop Dr. in advance of Hurricane Laura in Mandeville, La. Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020. (Photo by Max Becherer, NOLA.com, The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate)

    As Hurricane Laura’s landfall projection shifts west toward Texas, the likelihood of heavy rain and tornadoes is increasing on the eastern side of the storm, including the Baton Rouge area, according to the National Weather Service.

    In its 4 p.m. Tuesday update, the National Hurricane Center said Laura remains a Category 1 storm but is expected to strengthen in the next 24 hours to make landfall late Wednesday near the Louisiana-Texas border as a Category 3 storm.

    Baton Rouge is expected to see heavy rains, localized flooding and favorable conditions for tornadoes, said National Weather Service New Orleans meteorologist Phil Grigsby.

    « Being on the eastern side of the storm, we’re looking at rainfall from say 2 to 4 inches, but it could get up to 6 inches in a few places, » he said. « That’s the total over the Wednesday-to- Thursday time frame, but if you have a rain band over the city and the rain comes in too short a period of time, then street flooding could be an issue. »

    While Laura’s expected to bring maximum winds of 110-plus mph, Grigsby said Baton Rouge-area residents will likely see sustained winds more in the 40 to 50 mph range.

    « The other threat being on the eastern side is that it’s more favorable for tornadoes, so we may see some develop in those squalls into tomorrow afternoon and the night, » Grigsby said.

    Low-lying areas that often see flooding during heavy rains, like Lake Maurepas and French Settlement, may see some storm surge, he said, but it’s more likely to be freshwater and street flooding in the urban areas of the metro region.

    As residents prepare for several days worth of heavy rain, many officials have set up sandbagging stations and shuttered parish and city buildings and courthouses.

    In the Baton Rouge area, almost all schools closed Monday and Tuesday or downshifted to limited virtual instruction. But they are differing on what they are doing the rest of the week.

    School districts in West Baton Rouge, West Feliciana parishes as well as in Central decided to reopen Wednesday for at least some in-person instruction, while Ascension Parish is doing a full-service virtual school-day Wednesday. East Baton Rouge and St Helena parish school districts, as well as Baker schools, are continuing Wednesday with limited virtual instruction.

    Livingston, Pointe Coupee and Tangipahoa parishes, as well as Zachary schools, decided to stay closed, just Wednesday in the case of Livingston and Tangipahoa, and through Thursday in the case of Pointe Coupee and Zachary. Iberville Parish schools will continue with plans to stay closed through at least Wednesday, while St. James Parish schools plans to stay closed through Thursday.

    A fresh round of announcements is expected Wednesday about whether classes will resume Thursday as school officials continue to monitor the weather.

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    SOURCE: https://www.w24news.com

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