Hurricane Laura intensifies, prompts evacuations along Gulf Coast

Forecasters said Hurricane Laura continues to gather strength Wednesday morning and could make landfall in Texas or Louisiana as a powerful Category 4 storm late Wednesday or early Thursday. Authorities have ordered the evacuation of more than half a million people in the region.

What are forecasters saying? “We are expecting widespread power outages, trees down. Homes and businesses will be damaged,” said Donald Jones, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Lake Charles, La., near where Laura is forecast to hit. The storm is expected to bring strong winds and heavy flooding and push ocean water inland along more than 450 miles of coastline from Mississippi to Texas. Forecasters issued hurricane warnings from Intracoastal City, La., to San Luis Pass, Texas. Officials encouraged those in the storm’s path to stay with relatives or in hotel rooms to avoid spreading COVID-19.

Dig deeper: Track Laura’s progress at the National Hurricane Center.

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Editor’s note: WORLD has updated this report since its initial posting.

This story originally appeared in WORLD. © 2020, reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

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