Hurricane Laura: A storm approaching the United States is “potentially catastrophic”

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EPA

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More than half a million people are told to get out of the way of Hurricane Laura


Hurricane Laura is expected to cause a catastrophic storm surge, extreme winds and flash floods to hit the United States, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC).

Laura is currently a Category 3 storm and is expected to strengthen in Category 4 before reaching Texas and Louisiana later Wednesday.

The NHC has warned local residents to “rush” to complete preparations.

Half a million people have been ordered to leave. Laura and another storm Marco earlier hit the Caribbean, killing 24 people.

Marco has already hit Louisiana, bringing strong winds and heavy rain on Monday.

Initially, there were concerns that the two storms would hit Louisiana like hurricanes within 48 hours of each other – an unprecedented event – but Marco was downgraded to a tropical storm.


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Media legendHurricane Laura approaches Texas

Laura, meanwhile, quickly strengthened in Category 3, gaining 70% power in just 24 hours.

  • Hurricanes: a guide to the world’s deadliest storms

Evacuations are complicated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott urged families who can afford it to take refuge in hotels and motels to get away from others.

What can we expect from Hurricane Laura?

Early Wednesday, the NHC said satellite imagery had shown Laura had undergone a remarkable intensification to become a “formidable hurricane”.

In a series of tweets, he said Laura was believed to bring “deadly dangers” and “insurmountable storm surge” to parts of the Gulf Coast.

Well-built homes could suffer significant damage, trees could be broken or uprooted and electricity and water would be unavailable for days or even weeks, the statement said.

“Hurricane-force winds and widespread damaging wind gusts will also spread well inland in parts of eastern Texas and western Louisiana early Thursday,” the NHC added.

The hurricane currently has maximum sustained winds of 115 mph (185 km / h). It could reach 130 mph in the next few hours, with gusts of 160 mph.

It is expected to reach the landing near the Texas-Louisiana border shortly after midnight local time Thursday (05:00 GMT).

It is also expected to generate tornadoes over Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi on Wednesday evening.

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Getty Images

Legend

Man climbs into Louisiana store as state braces for Hurricane Laura


More than 385,000 residents have been ordered to leave the Texas towns of Beaumont, Galveston and Port Arthur, while 200,000 others have been ordered to evacuate the parish of Calcasieu in southwest Louisiana.

Port Arthur, Texas is home to the nation’s largest oil refinery and workers have been evicted from at least 281 offshore drilling rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, officials said Monday.

What happened in the Caribbean?

Marco and Laura brought high winds and rough seas to the Caribbean, killing at least 24 people, including a baby and an eight-year-old in Haiti.

Heavy rains also hit parts of Cuba, the Dominican Republic and the US territory of Puerto Rico. President Trump declared the territory a state of disaster on Saturday.

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Reuters

Legend

Laura brought rough seas and high winds to the Caribbean, including here in Havana, Cuba


In Cuba, authorities evacuated at least 160,000 people from several coastal areas, while thousands were evacuated to the Dominican Republic.

In Jamaica, there were reports of landslides and flooded roads.



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