Civil engineer and coastal hazards researcher Hermann Fritz says the setup along the coast where Hurricane Laura is forecast to make landfall creates a potentially devastating scenario:

  • The storm is on a dangerous path almost perpendicular to the shoreline, which will create storm surge of up to 20 feet on the storm's right side.
  • The storm surge on that eastern side and along the Louisiana coast is reminiscent of Hurricane Rita in 2005, which caused utter devastation along this stretch of shoreline.
  • The only reason Rita is less remembered is because it came three weeks after Hurricane Katrina
  • The Calcasieu River flows due south from Lake Charles to the Gulf of Mexico and offers a highway or trumpet-like funnel for the storm surge to push 30 miles inland along the river (similar to Hurricane Katrina and the Pearl River at the Louisiana-Mississippi border).
  • The dredged ship navigation channel along the Calcasieu further facilitates potential massive inland penetration of the storm surge all the way to the city of Lake Charles and beyond.
  • The many barrier islands, including areas around Holly Beach, Cameron, Creole, Grand Chenier, and Pecan Island will face complete engulfment and utter devastation due to massive storm surge, with overland flooding and destructive, not survivable storm waves.

Fritz has done significant work after tsunamis, hurricanes, earthquakes and other disasters, including after Hurricane Katrina.