Now a category 3 hurricane, Hurricane Laura is anticipated to make landfall overnight as a category 4 storm.
“We need everyone in southwest Louisiana paying very, very close attention to this storm and heeding the warnings that have been going out for a number of hours now,” Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said today (Aug. 26) in a press conference. “You’re going to hear ranges of storm surge that we haven’t heard in Louisiana since Hurricane Audrey in 1957.”
Edwards said busses have been shuttling residents under evacuation orders to shelters, but at some point this afternoon it will be unsafe to do so.
Officials with the National Weather Service in Slidell warned this morning that “unsurvivable storm surge” with destructive waves will cause catastrophic damage from Sea Rim State Park, Texas, to Intracoastal City, Louisiana, including Calcasieu and Sabine Lakes. They said surge could penetrate up to 30 miles inland from the immediate coastline.
“Only a few hours remain to protect life and property and all actions should be rushed to competition,” the update states.
Hurricane force winds are expected tonight in portions of the hurricane warning area from San Luis Pass, Texas, to west of Morgan City, Louisiana, with catastrophic wind damage expected where Laura’s eyewall makes landfall. Officials said hurricane-force winds and widespread damaging wind gusts will spread well inland across portions of eastern Texas and western Louisiana early Thursday (Aug. 27).
Widespread flash flooding along small streams, urban areas and roadways is expected to begin this afternoon into Thursday from far eastern Texas, across Louisiana and Arkansas. The heavy rainfall threat and localized flash flooding potential will spread northeastward into the middle-Mississippi, lower Ohio and Tennessee Valleys Friday night (Aug. 28) and Saturday (Aug. 29).