Hurricane Laura Now a Category 4 Storm, Trump Calls on Residents to Heed Warnings

August 26, 2020 Updated: August 26, 2020

Hurricane Laura quickly strengthened to a Category 4 storm on Wednesday as it is scheduled to make landfall near the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast on Wednesday night.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) warned that Laura will bring “unsurvivable storm surge.”

It will cause “large and destructive waves” from “Sea Rim State Park, Texas, to Intracoastal City, Louisiana, including Calcasieu and Sabine Lakes,” adding: “This surge could penetrate up to 30 miles inland from the immediate coastline,” according to the NHC.

Laura currently has maximum sustained wind speeds of 140 mph and is projected to remain Category 4 until Wednesday night when it makes landfall, said the NHC. Then, it is expected to quickly weaken.

The eye of the storm is forecast to move over northwestern Louisiana on Thursday, across Arkansas on Thursday night, and it will head to the mid-Mississippi Valley on Friday.

“It looks like it’s in full beast mode,” University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy told The Associated Press. “Which is not what you want to see if you’re in its way.”

Evacuation Orders

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards both have voiced concerns that not enough coastal residents are taking the storm seriously, AP reported.

On Twitter, President Donald Trump also called on coastal residents to heed local officials’ commands to evacuate. Hurricane warnings were issued by the NHC from San Luis Pass, Texas, to Intracoastal City, Louisiana, and reached inland for 200 miles. Storm surge warnings were in effect from Freeport, Texas, to the mouth of the Mississippi River.

Chambers County, Texas, issued a mandatory evacuation order for residents who live in low-lying or flood prone-areas, manfactured homes, or trailer homes. The city of Galveston, Texas, also issued an evacuation order as well as the Bolivar Peninsula.

Hardin County, Texas, Judge Wayne McDaniel ordered a mandatory evacuation for the whole county starting at 2 p.m. Tuesday. Texas’s Jasper County, Jefferson County, Newton County, Orange County, also issued evacuation orders on Tuesday.

In Louisiana, evacuation orders are in effect for Calcasieu Parish, Cameron Parish, Jefferson Parish, Lafourche Parish, Plaquemines Parish, and Terrebonne Parish.

About 500,000 people live under areas where the evacuation orders were implemented, according to an Associated Press analysis.