Hurricane Laura is expected to strengthen into a Category 4 storm and will make a “destructive landfall” as it approaches Texas and Louisiana Wednesday night, according to The Weather Channel. The report adds that residents along the upper Texas and southwest Louisiana coasts should finish preparations and follow any evacuation orders issued by local or state officials.
The National Hurricane Center (NHC), in its latest update on Wednesday at 11 a.m. ET, said “unsurvivable storm surge with large and destructive waves will cause catastrophic damage” from Sea Rim State Park, TX, to Intracoastal City, LA. The surge could reach as far inland as 30 miles from the immediate coastline. This includes Galveston, parts of the east Houston metro area, Beaumont and Port Arthur, TX, Lake Charles, LA, and several additional inland counties and parishes of east Texas and western Louisiana.
In addition, hurricane-force winds are expected Wednesday night in portions where there is currently a Hurricane Warning, which includes most of Louisiana’s western coast, and Texas’ northeastern coast. A Tropical Storm Warning extends in each direction along the coasts.
The NHC says that widespread flash flooding along streams, urban area and roadways are expected to being Wednesday afternoon from far eastern Texas, across Louisiana and Arkansas. The heavy rainfall threat and flash flooring potential will spread northeastward into middle Mississippi, lower Ohio and the Tennessee Valleys.
Laura is centered just over 200 miles south-southeast of Lake Charles, LA, and is tracking to the northwest at 16 mph, The Weather Channel reports. A wind gust to 107 mph was reported at a buoy near the center of Laura early Wednesday morning. It is currently a Category 3 storm and is forecast to become a Category 4 hurricane later Wednesday as it approaches the northwest Gulf Coast.
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