Laura is a Category 4 hurricane
A life-threatening storm surge of 7 to 15 feet will inundate the coast just east of the trajectory. Laura is a Category 4 hurricane with “unsurvivable storm surge” expected in some areas, according to the National Hurricane Center. Category 4 storms bring “catastrophic damage” with well-built framed homes at risk of losing most of the roof structure and/or exterior walls. According to the NHC, the worst of the storm surge will be along the immediate coast near and to the right of the landfall location, where the surge will be accompanied by “large and destructive waves.”
“Unsurvivable storm surge with large and destructive waves will cause catastrophic damage from Sea Rim State Park, Texas, to Intracoastal City, Louisiana, including Calcasieu and Sabine Lakes,” the NHC said in a statement. “This surge could penetrate up to 30 miles inland from the immediate coastline. Only a few hours remain to protect life and property and all actions should be rushed to completion.”
Laura is becoming a large hurricane as it strengthens by the hour, with hurricane-force winds extending 70 miles from the centre and tropical-storm-force winds extending outward of up to 175 miles. Impacts and hazards from the storm will be widespread – not just where the centre of the storm makes landfall.
The language is reminiscent of the dire warning issued in this part of the Gulf when Hurricane Ike, in 2008, threatened Galveston. More than 1.5 million people are under some type of evacuation orders across parts of Texas and Louisiana ahead of Laura, which killed at least nine people when it raked parts of the Caribbean as a tropical storm earlier this month.
At that time, the National Weather Service office in Houston advised those choosing to stay to write their social security numbers on their arms. Parts of eastern Texas and western Louisiana are forecast to see “catastrophic wind damage,” especially in places where the storm’s eyewall makes landfall, the NHC said. Residents in affected areas are being instructed to evacuate and are urged to brace for “widespread damaging wind gusts” that will spread well inland across parts of those areas early Thursday morn