Hurricane Laura Intensifies to Category 4, Expected to Make Landfall Tonight

Hurricane Laura Intensifies to Category 4, Expected to Make Landfall Tonight”

Inside the storm, Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft reports late this afternoon showed that Laura's maximum winds had risen to a sustained level near 145 miles per hour, making it a solid Category 4 hurricane.

"At the time of landfall, Laura was a ferocious looking hurricane with a clear circular eye, an intense eyewall, and tightly-coiled surrounding spiral bands", the National Weather Service said in an update on the storm early Thursday.

The hurricane has been tapping into the favourable Gulf waters, and is still set to strengthen even more so, as a Category 4 storm, before making landfall near the Louisiana-Texas border Wednesday night or Thursday morning.

Nearly half of all deaths from tropical cyclones come from storm surge. The category 4 could push a storm surge as high as 15-20 feet onto the western Louisiana coast and up to 15 feet on the far eastern Texas coast.

Just as unsafe will be storm surge, which will be significant along the coastal areas.

More news: RBA policy meeting: Cash rate held, bank support expanded

"We worry, of course, about people evacuating into group settings, trying to keep them safe if they're having to go to a shelter", she said.

At the current rate, Laura is expected to be the most destructive storm this hurricane season and is the first Category 4 hurricane to make landfall in the state since Hurricane Harvey in 2017. A National Ocean Service tide station in Calcasieu Pass, La., recorded a water level rise of 9.19 ft during the storm surge. "This storm surge could penetrate up to 30 miles inland from the immediate coastline in southwestern Louisiana and far southeastern Texas". The surge could also reach 40 miles inland, government forecasters warn. These winds are expected to be felt in southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana by 8 p.m. CDT on Wednesday.

At present, Laura is located about 200 miles from Lake Charles, Louisiana, and Galveston, Texas - the two U.S. southern states that are expected to take the brunt of the powerful storm's wrath.

Damage from a Category 4 hurricane includes homes turned into debris piles and power outages that can last for months in some areas. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. The news outlet reports coastal flooding can already be seen in parts of the southwestern Louisiana coastline.

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