Published on : Thursday, August 27, 2020
Category 4 Hurricane Laura made landfall on Thursday, with extreme 120 mph winds and an expected catastrophic storm surge in parts of Texas and Louisiana, according to the National Hurricane Center. There are more than 843,000 customers in Texas and Louisiana were without power.
The center said Laura is an “extremely dangerous” Category 4 hurricane, now with maximum sustained winds of 150 mph — just 7 mph short of Category 5 classification. That would make Laura the fourth Category 4 storm to strike Louisiana in modern history.
This Hurricane Laura is now formed as a tropical depression struck to Louisiana as one of the most powerful storms in the meteorological history of United States, leaving widespread destruction across the state. At least six people were killed in Louisiana, including a 14-year-old girl and a 68-year-old man.
Hurricane Laura tore apart homes and businesses and knocked out power to nearly one million customers in Texas and Louisiana. Meanwhile, Arkansas is under a state of emergency and is being lashed by damaging winds and flooding.
There are most forecasts initially predicted Laura’s intensity would reach a Category 2 or 3 storm. But the hurricane ramped up quickly since the start of the week, intensifying by 65 miles per hour in one 24-hour period.
This severe storm Laura is the tenth hurricane to make landfall in the continental U.S. with winds of 150 miles per hour or higher since modern record keeping began in 1851. Most recently, Hurricane Michael in 2018 had an intensity of 160 miles per hour when it made landfall in Florida.
While most storms tend to weaken before landfall, three storms in recent years have continued to strengthen as they approach the shore: Harvey in Texas in 2017, Michael, and now Laura.
The storm is forecast to move inland overnight Wednesday and farther into northwestern Louisiana on Thursday. From there, it will head across Arkansas and over the mid-Mississippi Valley on Friday.
The National Hurricane Center said storm surge — the rise in seawater caused by a storm — and tropical storm-force winds will arrive well in advance of the storm’s center, and that “all preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion in the next few hours.”
It is also warning of an “unsurvivable” storm surge with massive waves that will cause significant damage from Sea Rim State Park in Texas to Intracoastal City, La. The surge could affect areas up to 40 miles inland and dump floodwaters to the area that may not recede for days.
The sporadic tornadoes are also expected on Wednesday night over Louisiana, far southeast Texas and southwestern Mississippi.