'Potentially Catastrophic' Hurricane Laura Barrels Toward Texas, Louisiana
27 August, 2020, 14:54
The hurricane has been tapping into the favourable Gulf waters, and is still set to strengthen even more so, as a Category 4 storm, before making landfall near the Louisiana-Texas border Wednesday night or Thursday morning.
The latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) found winds were extending a staggering 175 miles from the centre of the storm, and Louisiana and Texas were bracing after landfall last night.
It is moving northward through Louisiana as catastrophic storm surge, extreme winds and flash flooding continue.
Laura's center, known as the eye of the storm, is now located north of Lake Charles, Louisiana.
Hurricane Laura is still a Category 4 storm as it batters Lake Charles, Louisiana, early Thursday with winds up to 132 miles per hour.
Between 13 to 26 cms of rain was expected in parts of the Gulf Coast between Wednesday and Friday. "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. Property can be replaced.
"I'm asking people right now to pay attention to this storm, to get out of harm's way", Gov. John Bel Edwards of Louisiana told residents during a briefing on Wednesday before adding that they had limited time to do so before the weather worsened to risky levels.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards fretted that the dire predictions were not resonating despite authorities putting more than 500,000 coastal residents under mandatory evacuation orders.
Coronavirus loomed over preparations, with Angela Jouett, director of evacuation operations in Lake Charles, saying authorities were ensuring that evacuees use hand sanitiser, get their temperatures taken and maintain a distance of six feet.
More than 420,000 Texas residents have been ordered to leave, while an additional 200,000 were told to evacuate Calcasieu Parish in south-western Louisiana. "We did everything we could to encourage them to leave".
She said: "The devastation afterwards in our town and that whole corner of the state was just bad".
Another evacuee in Lake Charles, Patricia Como, said other family members had stayed behind but she was "not going to take a chance".
The top of the skybridge that goes from the hospital to the parking garage has lost its covering due to the powerful winds from Laura, Hidalgo said.
NEW ORLEANS - A meteorologist in western Louisiana said there are increasing signs Hurricane Laura could reach Category 5 strength.
He urged those evacuating to head north in order to "detour the closure and avoid undrivable conditions".
The city remains traumatised from Katrina, which made landfall as a Category 3 storm, flooding 80 per cent of the city and killing more than 1,800 people.
Laura hit the U.S. after killing almost two dozen people on the island of Hispaniola, including 20 in Haiti and three in the Dominican Republic, where it knocked out power and caused intense flooding.
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