'Potentially Catastrophic' Hurricane Laura Barrels Toward Texas, Louisiana

'Potentially Catastrophic' Hurricane Laura Barrels Toward Texas, Louisiana

"I'm not going to play with the good lord", Como said.

The Coast Guard has closed the Texas ports of Houston, Galveston, Freeport and Texas City ahead of Hurricane Laura, according to a notice.

The most recent major hurricane that struck Louisiana was Rita in September 2005, which brought with it 115-mph winds.

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What about wind from Category 4 Laura?

Texas governor Greg Abbott said Laura could reach Category 4 status, the second-highest, with winds of up to 156 miles per hour.

Even before dawn Wednesday, officials in Austin said the city had run out of free hotel rooms to offer evacuees and had begun directing families fleeing the storm to a shelter almost 200 miles farther north.

Hurricane Laura is evolving into a monster. The storm had earlier lashed the Caribbean, especially Cuba and Jamaica.

Angela Jouett, director of evacuation operations in Lake Charles, said the authorities had new protocols in place because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

"So that is the key word that came out today about it being an unsurvivable storm", Abbott said.

Residents and local business owners continued to make preparations for Hurricane Laura's arrival along the gulf coast.

Laura has prompted mandatory evacuations in coastal areas and is targeting the heart of America's energy industry, shutting more than 80% of oil production in the Gulf of Mexico and a third of the Gulf Coast's refining capacity.

"This is a last-ditch effort over the next hour, hour and a half for people to try and get out of town", he told New Orleans Public Radio at 8:45 Wednesday morning.

Devastating wind damage, "catastrophic" storm surge - now forecast to be as high as 20 feet - and heavy rain will all be possible from Laura in the hurricane warning areas.

About 64 crude oil and refined product tankers are in the western U.S. Gulf waiting on Hurricane Laura to pass, according to ship tracking data compiled by Bloomberg.

It's a strong storm: "Laura has become a very powerful hurricane this morning", the National Hurricane Center said in an 11 a.m. advisory Wednesday. "Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months".

Tornadoes may occur more frequently near the eye of hurricanes than we realize, according to Miller - but the winds are so strong and the destruction is so great around the eye, storm survey teams can not determine what damage may have come from a brief tornado versus the damage from the extremely strong and persistent winds within a hurricane's eyewall. This storm surge could penetrate up to 30 miles inland from the immediate coastline in southwestern Louisiana and far eastern Texas. Electricity and water will be unavailable for days or even weeks. Widespread flash flooding is expected.

The storm is packing maximum sustained winds of 125 miles (201 kilometers) per hour. Other areas, such as Nassau Bay and Chambers County, are under voluntary evacuation orders. Buses were stocked with protective equipment and disinfectant, and they would carry fewer passengers to keep people apart, Texas officials said.

The majority of evacuees are being routed to Baton Rouge. "Louisiana is going to have a lot of damage with this storm".

Edwards said the Federal Emergency Management Administration has, for the first time, approved the use of hotel and motel rooms as government-funded sheltering locations for individuals and families before the storm makes landfall. The storm surge warning means there's a possibility that rising water could cause life-threatening conditions in the area within the next 48 hours.

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