Hurricane Laura is heading to the Texas-Louisiana border and is set to make landfall early Thursday morning
Texas and Louisiana citizens living on the gulf coast are racing to evacuate inland as a major and potentially “unsurvivable” storm heads for the coastal border of the two states. The New York Times reports that Hurricane Laura — now a major Category 4 storm — is set to make landfall around 2 a.m. on Thursday morning right on the Texas-Louisiana border. However, powerful gusts of wind and heavy rains may start as early as Wednesday afternoon.
The shocking news comes from The National Hurricane Center, who said that “catastrophic storm surge, extreme winds, and flash flooding expected along the Northwest Gulf Coast Tonight. Little time remains to protect life and property.” Earlier forecasts predicted “unsurvivable” storm surge and on Wednesday morning, the Center stated that the storm is “changing rapidly here, but what’s not changing is the fact that this is going to be a catastrophic life-threatening event.” Water could reach as high as 15 to 20 feet in some areas and may stretch as far as 30 miles inland.
In Texas, more than 5,000 have taken shelter inland so far as the government relocates people to empty hotel rooms and Texas Governor Greg Abbott says he cannot stress the seriousness of this surge enough.
“We urge everybody who may be in harm’s way to take these few last hours to get out of harm’s way,” he said (via The Washington Post).
Governor John Bel Edwards of Louisiana echoed this sentiment, stating, “This is a very serious storm. In the five years I’ve been governor, I don’t believe I’ve had a press conference where it was my intention to convey the sense of urgency that I am trying to convey right now. Our state hasn’t seen a storm surge like this in many many decades.”
NPR reports that in some areas of Louisiana, the roads have already begun to flood and more than 200,000 people in southwestern Louisiana were placed under a mandatory evacuation order. However, with COVID-19 still in play and general economic hardship of the last few months, one local mayor in Southern Louisiana admits that people are refusing to evacuate and the longer they wait, it may not be possible for first responders to reach them during the storm.
Laura is on track to become the strongest August hurricane in the region since Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Colorado State University meteorologist Phil Klotzbach told USA Today.