The NOAA Hurricane Hunters reported that Laura became a hurricane on Tuesday, shortly after moving over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
It’s expected to continue intensifying on a path to hit the U.S. coastline late Wednesday or early Thursday as a major Category 3 hurricane capable of “devastating” damage. The National Hurricane Center lists life-threatening storm surge, extreme winds and flash flooding as all possible.
As of Wednesday at 8 a.m., Laura is a category 3 storm with 115 mph sustained winds and gusts up to 130 mph. The storm is moving northwest at 15 mph and became organized with a well-defined eye overnight. The storm is around 650 miles wide and the eye is currently 290 miles southeast of Galveston, TX.
Galveston has issued a mandatory evacuation, instructing all residents to leave the island on Tuesday.
Recent forecasts show Laura making landfall somewhere between central Louisiana and Houston Wednesday night into Thursday morning.
Forecasters warn that seawater higher than a basketball hoop could swamp entire communities.
Towns near the Louisiana-Texas state line are bracing for the worst. Laura already killed at least 11 people in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, where it knocked out power and caused flooding in the two nations that share the island of Hispaniola.
Laura would transition to a post-tropical depression and work its way through the Ohio River Valley and could race east to bring North Carolina some rain Friday night into Saturday. Laura could carry tropical-storm-force winds into Arkansas
Marco brought heavy rain, gusty winds and significant storm surge to parts of the gulf coast Monday night into Tuesday morning. Marco made landfall near the mouth of the Mississippi River, close to New Orleans around 6 p.m. Monday night but the ragged storm continued to weaken.
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- Marco made landfall Monday evening and Laura will make landfall Wednesday.
- For North Carolina, Laura brings the possibility of rain Friday and Saturday.
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Source: ABC7 Chicago