Coastal Louisiana residents were urged to evacuate as Hurricane Laura, a Category 4 storm as of August 26, churned toward the state.
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, taken by Public Information Officer Brennan Matherne of the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office, shows floodwaters starting to overtake Louisiana Highway 1 at the South Lafourche Levee System on Wednesday.
As of 3 pm on Wednesday, the hurricane was located 175 miles south of Lake Charles, Louisiana, the National Hurricane Center said. Credit: Brennan Matherne via Storyful