Laura came ashore in a Category 4 storm early Thursday near the Texas state border, ripping roofs, damaging buildings, and stealing hundreds of thousands of electricity.
Rivers normally flow into the Gulf, but Laura’s strong winds blew the top layer of water upstream, away from the Gulf, instead.
Chris Dier captured a time lapse of the phenomenon Wednesday afternoon from Arabi, a neighborhood downstream from New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward and about 200 miles east of where Laura made landfall.
In the tweeted video, a barge bound for the Gulf can be seen battling the inland flow of water.
Winds in Arabi and southern Louisiana blew with the force of a tropical storm throughout Wednesday and Thursday morning, as Laura passed west. These winds pushed surface water up the river, as the video shows, experts at CNN Weather said.
River gauges maintained by the US Geological Survey and the Army Corps of Engineers showed that the mainstream of both rivers slowed down during this time, likely because surface water was flowing in the opposite direction, with the wind. , they said.
The Mississippi River is the second longest river in North America, spanning 2,350 miles. It begins at Lake Itasca in Minnesota and empties into the Gulf of Mexico.
The Neches River stretches 416 miles, starting in eastern Texas and also emptying into the Gulf of Mexico.
The flow of the Mississippi River has completely reversed in the past, not just the top layer.
In 2005, during Hurricane Katrina, the water reversed its course, according to CNN affiliate WLBT. And in 2012, strong winds and a storm surge from Hurricane Isaac pushed the river back for nearly 24 hours, according to the United States Geological Survey.