Ns News Online Desk: More than half a million people are being told to get out of the path of Hurricane Laura Hurricane. Laura is expected to cause an “unforgivable” storm surge, extreme winds and flash floods as it hits the US, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) says.
Laura was upgraded to a Category 4 storm as it approached the coasts of Texas and Louisiana on Wednesday. The NHC warned local residents to “rush” to complete preparations.
Half a million have been told to leave. Laura and another storm, Marco, earlier hit the Caribbean, killing 24. Marco has already struck Louisiana, bringing strong winds and heavy rain on Monday.
Initially it was feared that both storms would hit Louisiana as hurricanes within 48 hours of each other – an unprecedented event – but Marco was downgraded to a tropical storm.Laura, on the other hand, has strengthened rapidly from a Category 3, gaining 70% in power in just 24 hours, to a Category 4, maximum sustained winds of 140mph (220km/h).
US President Donald Trump told those potentially affected by the storm to “listen to local officials” as the storm was “very dangerous and rapidly intensifying”.
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Evacuations are complicated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Texas Governor Greg Abbott urged families who could afford it to take refuge in hotels and motels to be distanced from others.Early on Wednesday the NHC said satellite images had shown that Laura had undergone a remarkable intensification to become a “formidable hurricane”.
In a series of tweets, it said Laura was expected to bring “life-threatening hazards” and an “unforgivable storm surge” to parts of the coast of the Gulf of Mexico.Well-built homes could incur major damage, trees could be snapped or uprooted and electricity and water would be unavailable for days or even weeks, it said. “Hurricane force winds and widespread damaging wind gusts will also spread well inland into portions of eastern Texas and western Louisiana early Thursday,” the NHC added.