Hurricane Laura strengthened to a Category 4 storm on Wednesday, August 26, and residents on the coast of Texas were urged to prepare for a “catastrophic” storm surge, the Weather Channel said.
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. Laura’s maximum sustained winds had spiked from 75 mph to 140 mph over 24 hours.
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.
Chambers County, Texas, issued a voluntary evacuation order to residents in low-lying or flood-prone areas.
Buses were staged at the Kyle White Stadium parking lot in Anahuac and Winnie Stowell County Park in Winnie on Wednesday, less than 24 hours before Hurricane Laura’s anticipated landfall, local media reported. The buses would be sent to San Antonio, Dallas, or Austin.
The hurricane was set to make landfall in Texas and Louisiana late Wednesday into Thursday, with a storm surge of up to 15 feet predicted for coastal areas.
This video shows vehicles along Interstate 10 near Anahuac on Wednesday morning. Credit: Jaime Garcia via Storyful