Hurricane Laura strengthened to a category 3 storm with winds of nearly 115 mph on Wednesday morning and was expected to intensify further before making landfall along the Texas and Louisiana border overnight.
Here’s the latest:
- Hurricane Laura intensified to a category 3 storm on Wednesday morning and may strengthen further to a category 4 by landfall
- It is expected to make landfall around the Texas and Louisiana border on the Gulf Coast overnight
- Devastation from the storm could spread far inland
- Flooding is a concern, with over 6 million people under flash flood watches
The rapidly intensifying storm is expected to inflict damage before and long after it makes landfall, and not just along the Gulf Coast.
The National Weather Service said devastation could spread far inland in eastern Texas and western Louisiana.
On Wednesday morning, Laura’s hurricane-force winds were extending outward up to 70 miles, and its tropical-storm-force winds up to 175 miles, the weather service said. The harshest conditions are expected between 8 p.m. Wednesday and 6 a.m. Thursday.
Widespread power outages could last for weeks, forecasters said.
Flooding is also a concern with more than 6 million people under flash flood watches from Louisiana to Arkansas on Wednesday.
Parts of the northwestern Gulf Coast from western Louisiana to far-eastern Texas could see 15 inches of rain on top of a 10 to 15 foot storm surge that could reach 30 miles inland.
A buoy located near Laura clocked a wave height of 37 feet Wednesday morning.
Tornados could also present a problem across southeast Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, and western Mississippi Wednesday and Thursday.
This is a developing story; check back for updates.