Update: 4:15pm – DELCAMBRE, La. (AP) – Laura has strengthened into a menacing Category 4 hurricane. The storm’s power is raising fears of a 20-foot storm surge that forecasters say would be “unsurvivable” and capable of sinking entire communities on the Texas and Louisiana coast. Authorities implored coastal residents to evacuate and worried that not enough had fled. The storm grew nearly 70% in power in just 24 hours to reach Category 3 status, and it continued to draw energy from the warm Gulf of Mexico waters. Laura was on track to arrive late Wednesday or early Thursday as the most powerful hurricane to strike the U.S. so far this year.
GALVESTON, Texas (AP) – Hurricane Laura is rapidly intensifying and forecasters now expect it to become a Category 4 hurricane. It’s already a Category 3 storm as it approaches Texas and Louisiana, with landfall expected overnight. Stacy Stewart at the National Hurricane Center says some people are going to wake up Thursday and not believe what happened. He says storm surge heights could top 15 feet in places, and what doesn’t get blown down by the wind could easily get knocked down by water pushing inland. More than half a million people are under evacuation orders. Hurricane-force winds are expected to reach nearly 200 miles inland.
By JEFF MARTIN, JOHN MONE and STACEY PLAISANCE, Associated Press
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