Hurricane Laura Made This River Flow Backwards Temporarily

Caitlin Dempsey

Updated:

When Hurricane Laura came onshore near Texas and Louisiana, its winds were so strong that it pushed the waters of the River Neches backwards for about 12 hours.

A streamgauge in Beaumont, Texas captured the river’s flow rate over time as the hurricane pummeled the region.

As Hurricane Laura’s wind pushed the water of the river, the river’s velocity slowed and then reversed course. Water was pushed upstream as the river reversed its flow with an approximate flow rate of 7,600 cubic feet per second.

In this discharge graph of the USGS streamgage on the Neches River at Beaumont, Texas, one can see the river's flow rate fluctuate as Hurricane Laura approaches. When the line passes below 0 into negative numbers, that shows negative velocity, meaning the river has reversed flow. Graph: USGS, public domain.
In this discharge graph of the USGS streamgage on the Neches River at Beaumont, Texas, one can see the river’s flow rate fluctuate as Hurricane Laura approaches. When the line passes below 0 into negative numbers, that shows negative velocity, meaning the river has reversed flow. Graph: USGS, public domain.

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East, J. (2020, August 28). Hurricane Laura temporarily reverses Neches river. USGS.gov. https://www.usgs.gov/news/hurricane-laura-temporarily-reverses-neches-river

An oxbow of the Neches River in Big Thicket National Preserve just upstream of Beaumont, TX. Photo: National Park Service, public domain.
An oxbow of the Neches River in Big Thicket National Preserve just upstream of Beaumont, TX. Photo: National Park Service, public domain.

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About the author
Caitlin Dempsey
Caitlin Dempsey is the editor of Geography Realm and holds a master's degree in Geography from UCLA as well as a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) from SJSU.