Hurricane Laura strengthened to a Category 3 storm overnight August 25 to 26, and was expected to intensify to a Category 4, forcing Louisiana residents to scramble to prepare as evacuation orders were issued.
The National Weather Service (NWS) confirmed Wednesday morning that Hurricane Laura had “rapidly strengthened” overnight, packing maximum sustained winds of 115 mph. Laura will bring with it hurricane-force winds, widespread flash flooding, and an “unsurvivable storm surge,” the NWS said.
National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham said the storm surge was expected to pose a “life-threatening situation.” Catastrophic damage was expected from Sea Rim State Park, Texas, to Intracoastal City, Louisiana, including Calcasieu and Sabine Lakes, the NWS said.
Local media reported that surge predictions were now at 18 feet from the Texas state line to around Vermillion Parish, Louisiana.
Louisiana Gov John Bel Edwards urged residents to evacuate while they still had a chance to do so safely.
This video shows residents of Lake Charles, on the coast of Louisiana, preparing sandbags ahead of the storm’s landfall. As of 8 am on Wednesday, the hurricane was located 280 miles south-southeast of Lake Charles.
“The window to prepare is nearly closed. Do so NOW,” the NWS tweeted Wednesday morning. Credit: Cristian Stramwasser via Storyful