Hurricane Laura has now been upgraded to a powerful Category 4 storm as of Wednesday afternoon. And the latest warning from the National Hurricane Center says Hurricane Laura could slam the Gulf Coast with an “unsurvivable” storm surge of 20 feet.
Laura is barreling towards the US even stronger than previously expected. Forecasters say it’s reached catastrophic Category 4 status as it churns over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, aimed to land squarely along the Texas and Louisiana coastline.
Early Wednesday, satellite images showed that Laura had rapidly intensified. “There are no signs it will stop soon,” said the National Hurricane Center.
“Some areas, when they wake up Thursday morning, they’re not going to believe what happened,” said senior hurricane specialist Stacy Stewart.
Maximum sustained winds from Laura could exceed 130 miles per hour before landfall, causing massive storm surge along with the destructive winds.
Laura will push water onto more than 450 miles of coastline from Texas to Mississippi. Authorities have issued hurricane warnings from San Luis Pass, Texas to Intracoastal, Louisiana and storm surge warnings from Port Arthur, Texas to the mouth of the Mississippi River.
The weather service is warning people to expect catastrophic damage. “Power outages will last weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months,” it said.
Authorities have ordered more than half a million people to flee, including residents of the Texas cities of Beaumont, Galveston, and Port Arthur, and low-lying parishes in southwestern Louisiana.
CBN News contributor Chuck Holton is waiting out the storm in Lake Charles, Louisiana. He told CBN News’ Efrem Graham this morning that conditions will change dramatically overnight.
“Right now where I’m standing on the shore of Lake Charles is ground zero for this storm as the track shows right now, so that by this time tomorrow, where I’m standing, could be maybe under 14 feet of water.”