TROPICS: Laura becomes major hurricane ahead of 'potentially catastrophic' US landfall



At the current rate, Laura is expected to be the most destructive storm this hurricane season and is the first Category 4 hurricane to make landfall in the state since Hurricane Harvey in 2017.

A life-threatening storm surge of 7 to 15 feet will inundate the coast just east of the trajectory.

Even after landfall, the storms' remnants are forecast to move deep into North America along the Mississippi Valley - such that once it passes south of the Great Lakes, its moisture will likely fuel weekend showers in southern Ontario.

Gaynor also warned that inland communities in the path of the storm should also treat it as a serious threat, as host Bill Hemmer recalled how Hurricane Katrina caused catastrophic damage more than 60 miles inland across MS and Louisiana in 2005.

Greg Abbott urged people who had not yet evacuated from the path of Hurricane Laura to leave - as they only had "about five hours" to do so as of his noon press conference. Parts of eastern Texas and western Louisiana are forecast to see "catastrophic wind damage", especially in places where the storm's eyewall makes landfall, the NHC said.

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"We worry, of course, about people evacuating into group settings, trying to keep them safe if they're having to go to a shelter", she said. A fairly new and rarely-used warning, it's issued for areas expected to see winds of 115 miles per hour or higher. "This storm surge could penetrate up to 30 miles (48.28 km) inland from the immediate coastline in southwestern Louisiana and far southeastern Texas", the NHC says.

The NHC also warned that "a few tornadoes" are expected to develop Wednesday evening in Louisiana, southeast Texas and southwestern Mississippi.

At present, Laura is located about 200 miles from Lake Charles, Louisiana, and Galveston, Texas - the two U.S. southern states that are expected to take the brunt of the powerful storm's wrath.

Damage predicted from a Category 4 storm, according to the NHC, include: "Houses can sustain severe damage with loss of most of the roof structure and possibly some exterior walls". Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. reports that more than 270,000 in the state are without power, and another 65,000 in Texas are also experiencing outages.

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