Hurricane Laura is expected to rapidly become a Category 4 “catastrophic” hurricane, even stronger than expected, as it moves towards Texas and Louisiana, with eddies of wind and water over much of the Gulf of Mexico.
Satellite images show that Laura has become “a formidable hurricane” in the last few hours, threatening to destroy homes and sink entire communities. It has seen significant intensification “and there is no sign that it will stop anytime soon,” the National Hurricane Center said early Wednesday morning.
Laura has grown nearly 70 percent in energy in just 24 hours to reach maximum sustained winds of 175km / h with higher gusts, meteorologists said.
“In some areas, when they wake up Thursday morning, they won’t believe what happened,” said Stacy Stewart, a hurricane specialist.
“We could see storm heights of over 15 feet in some areas,” said Stewart. “What is not blown away by the wind could easily be blown away by the rising waters of the ocean pushing inward.”
A Category 4 hurricane will cause catastrophic damage: “Power outages will last weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months,” the Meteorological Service says.
“We need to be concerned about the federal ability to respond to a major hurricane disaster, particularly in light of the failures that are too evident in the public health arena,” said Kathleen Tierney, former director of the University’s Center for Natural Hazards. of Colorado. “It really worries me: who is in charge of the shop?”
At 8 in the morning. ET, Laura was located 450 to 465 kilometers from Lake Charles, La. And Galveston, Texas, respectively. It had maximum sustained winds of 185 km / h and was moving northwest at 24 km / h.
In the largest evacuation of the pandemic in the United States, more than half a million people were ordered on Tuesday to flee an area of the Gulf Coast along the Texas-Louisiana state line.
The hurricane season in the Atlantic will be more severe than originally predicted
More than 385,000 residents have been asked to evacuate the Texan cities of Beaumont, Galveston, and Port Arthur. Another 200,000 have been ordered to leave the lower parishes of Calcasieu and Cameron in southwestern Louisiana, where forecasters said up to four meters of wave-covered storm surges could engulf entire communities.
In Galveston and Port Arthur, Texas, many people have boarded buses to Austin and other cities in the outback. “If he decides to stay, he will be left alone,” Port Arthur Mayor Thurman Bartie said.
Laura is also expected to dump heavy rain for a short period of time as she moves inland, causing flash floods widespread in states far from the coast. Flash flood warnings have been issued for much of Arkansas, and weather forecasts have said that heavy rains could lead to parts of Missouri, Tennessee, and Kentucky in the late evening of Friday and Saturday.
Urging people in southwestern Louisiana to evacuate before it’s too late, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said they must get to where they plan to tackle the storm before noon on Wednesday when the state will begin to feel the effects of the storm.
Shelters follow coronavirus protocols
Officials urged people to stay with family members or in hotel rooms to prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. The buses were equipped with protective equipment and disinfectant and would carry fewer passengers to keep people separate, Texas officials said.
Shelters with separate cribs have been opened to curb coronavirus infections. The displaced people were asked to bring a mask and a single bag of personal effects each.
CLIMATE Because the ‘cone of uncertainty’ of a hurricane is important, even for those who live outside it
“Hopefully it’s not that threatening to people, to life, because people don’t dare go anywhere because of COVID,” said Robert Duffy as he placed sandbags around his home in Morgan City, USA.
NASA publishes a video of Hurricane Laura captured by astronauts on the International Space Station. 0:56
Peak winds of 209km / h are now predicted before landing, pushing water more than 724km offshore from Texas to Mississippi. San Luis Pass high-level alarm issue some alerts to Texasntracoastal City, La, and storm surge alerts from the Port Arthur, Texas flood protection system at the mouth of the Mississippi River.