Chris Dier posted on Twitter a video of the unique occurrence, which happened around 4 p.m. Wednesday in Arabi, a suburb of New Orleans.
“Hurricane Laura is forcing the Mississippi to follow north instead of south,” he wrote. “Barges are now having to fight these tides as they go downriver. Surreal.”
The storm was located about 155 miles south of Lake Charles, La., around 4 p.m. CT Wednesday with maximum sustained winds of 145 mph, according to the National Weather Service (NWS). It failed to hit New Orleans directly later but still appeared to cause the unlikely phenomenon.
John Lewis, a research associate professor at the Tulane ByWater Institute, responded to the post, saying the top of the river likely got pushed by the wind — because the surge impacts were not severe enough to cause a reversal of flow.
He said his understanding was that: “storm surge slows the rate at which the river drains, so the increase in depth is sourced from water flowing from upriver, which then slows and starts to stack up. But the river is a very powerful force and doesn’t ‘reverse’ fully very easily.”
Louisiana Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards told Fox News’ “Your World” on Wednesday that Hurricane Laura was potentially the strongest storm to hit the southwestern part of the state in more than six decades.
“Things are very, very serious,” Edwards told host Neil Cavuto. “We have a storm that’s a Category 4. It’s going to make landfall just after midnight. It continues to grow in size and intensity and quite frankly the storm surge is going to be a huge threat to life and, in fact, the National Weather Service took the unprecedented step of saying the storm surge is going to be unsurvivable.” continue reading