FIRST ALERT: “Catastrophic” damage and “unsurvivable” storm surge expected from Laura
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Hurricane Laura remains an extremely dangerous category 4 hurricane and will make landfall early Thursday morning.
Laura is moving toward the northwest near 15 mph. A turn toward the north-northwest and north is expected tonight, and a northward motion should continue on Thursday. A northeastward to east-northeastward motion is expected Thursday night and Friday.
On the forecast track, Laura will approach Upper Texas and southwest Louisiana coasts this evening and move inland within that area tonight. The center of Laura is forecast to move over northwestern Louisiana tomorrow, across Arkansas Thursday night, and over the mid-Mississippi Valley on Friday.
Reports from an Air Force Reserve hurricane hunter aircraft indicate that the maximum sustained winds have increased to near 150 mph with higher gusts. Laura is an extremely dangerous category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.
The deepest water will occur along the immediate coast near and to the right of the landfall location, where the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves. Unsurvivable storm surge with large and destructive waves will cause catastrophic damage from Sea Rim State Park, Texas, to Intracoastal City, Louisiana, including Calcasieu and Sabine Lakes. This surge could penetrate up to 40 miles inland from the immediate coastline, and floodwaters will not fully recede for several days after the storm.
Hurricane conditions are expected in the hurricane warning area tonight and Thursday, with catastrophic wind damage expected where Laura’s eyewall moves onshore tonight. Tropical storm conditions are moving onshore along the coast of Louisiana within the tropical storm warning area and are expected to spread northwestward within the warning areas this evening. Hurricane-force winds and damaging wind gusts are also expected to spread well inland into portions of eastern Texas and western Louisiana early Thursday.
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