Hurricane Laura spotted from International Space Station

Hurricane Laura spotted from International Space Station”

Marco made landfall Monday near the mouth of the Mississippi River, and has weakened to a tropical depression, according to the National Weather Service's Hurricane Center.

With ongoing intensification, Hurricane Laura in the Gulf of Mexico will soon become a Cat-3 storm before making landfall on Thursday early morning (ET).

The first tropical storm-force winds could reach the US mainland late Wednesday or Wednesday night Coastal water levels could also rise sharply long before the hurricane makes landfall. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 60 miles (95 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 205 miles (335 km). It was 941km (585 miles) southeast of Lake Charles, Louisiana, heading west-northwest at 26km/h (16mph).

The storm also forced evacuations from an area of the state where there has been a high rate of positive tests.

Edwards lamented that the impending storm meant suspension of community testing for COVID-19 at a crucial time as elementary and secondary schools in Louisiana are opening and students are returning to college campuses.

"In addition to storm surge & wind threats, Hurricane #Laura is expected to produce a swath of heavy rainfall as it moves inland Wednesday night into Saturday", the National Hurricane Center tweeted.

"Homes and businesses will be damaged", said Donald Jones, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Lake Charles, Louisiana, which is near the bullseye of Laura's forecast track.

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Officials in Houston asked residents to prepare supplies in case they lose power for a few days or need to evacuate homes along the coast.

Edwards said the storm most closely resembles Hurricane Rita in both magnitude and area of impact.

The devastation afterward in our town and that whole corner of the state was just terrible, Clements said.

Clements, a church educator, said she fears for her office, which is in a trailer following recent construction. It will be scattered throughout that field.

In the Gulf of Mexico, more than a hundred oil platforms were evacuated as a precautionary measure, stopping about 80 percent of oil production.

The Atlantic storm season, which runs through November, could be one of the busiest ever this year, with the Hurricane Center predicting as many as 25 named storms. Consumers are unlikely to see big price hikes however, because the pandemic has decimated demand for fuel.

Laura already killed two dozen people in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. But that storm, which spent less than a day as a hurricane, was far smaller and less powerful than Laura. Associated Press contributors include John L. Mone in Port Arthur, Texas; Gerald Herbert in Lake Arthur, Louisiana; Paul J. Weber in Austin, Texas; Seth Borenstein in Kensington, Maryland; Juan A. Lozano in Houston; Jake Bleiberg in Dallas; Jay Reeves in Birmingham, Alabama; Jill Bleed in Little Rock, Arkansas; Julie Walker in NY and Sophia Tulp in Atlanta.

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