Story at a glance
- Homes in Texas and Louisiana were ordered to evacuate as Hurricane Laura prepares to make landfall.
- Flooding and gusty winds are expected to move further inland.
Thousands of people have been ordered to evacuate parts of Texas and Louisiana near the Gulf of Mexico as Hurricane Laura is expected to make landfall, bringing strong winds and flooding, according to the Associated Press.
Laura is expected to make landfall by late Wednesday night or Thursday morning. It is anticipated to be a Category 4 hurricane. The hurricane also comes as wildfires sear through Northern California, putting 170,000 people under evacuation orders.
“The main point is that we’re going to have a significant hurricane make landfall late Wednesday or early Thursday,” National Hurricane Center Deputy Director Ed Rappaport said Tuesday.
State emergencies have already been declared in Louisiana and Mississippi. More than 385,000 residents have been ordered to leave from Texas cities including Beaumont, Galveston and Port Arthur, all of which are along the Gulf Coast. In Louisiana, lowland southwestern communities were issued evacuation orders as forecasters reportedly anticipate more than 11 feet of flooding.
Galveston and Port Arthur ordered mandatory evacuations effective at 6 a.m. on Tuesday. Residents fleeing their homes were instructed to bring a travel bag and face mask if they were entering shelters.
In Houston, north of Galveston, officials have asked residents to prepare for power outages or even further evacuations.
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) forecasts winds coming in at approximately 115 miles per hour and commented that there is a danger of life-threatening storm surge from San Luis Pass, Texas, to the Mouth of the Mississippi River, as well as near Port Arthur and to Intracoastal City, Louisiana.
“A Storm Surge Warning is in effect and residents should follow any advice given by local officials. Actions to protect life and property should be rushed to completion today, as water levels will begin to rise Wednesday,” the NHC wrote.
The NHC also told residents in areas of impact not to focus on the details of the forecast since wind gusts, flooding and rainfall are expected to move along the Gulf Coast.
Laura bypassed Cuba as it moved north, but killed at least 23 people on Hispaniola, with 20 deaths in Haiti and three in the Dominican Republic. Power was also knocked down by winds and flooding.