Hurricane Laura to make US landfall as Category 4 storm

Hurricane Laura will make impact in the United States as a devastating category 4 system.

This satellite image shows Hurricane Laura churning in the Gulf of Mexico, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020. (Photo: NOAA via AP)

Laura quickly gained strength today, August 26, as it crossed the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico on track for Texas and Louisiana where more than 500,000 people have been ordered to evacuate.

The US-based National Hurricane Center said the storm is a “formidable hurricane” that will cause significant damage to homes and whole communities, with little sign that it will ease in the short-term.

Municipal workers fill sandbags for the elderly and those with disabilities ahead of Hurricane Laura in Crowley, La., Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020. (Photo: AP/Gerald Herbert)

Senior hurricane specialist Stacy Stewart said, “We could see storm surge heights more than 15 feet in some areas,” Stewart said. “What doesn’t get blown down by the wind could easily get knocked down by the rising ocean waters pushing well inland.”

Laura is located roughly 450 kilometres from Lake Charles, Louisiana, moving northwest at 24 kph.

Issac Alvarado (right) and Kevin Enriquez board up windows on coastal decor store Bayside Chic, Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020, in Galveston, Texas, as Hurricane Laura heads toward the Gulf Coast. (Photo: AP/David J. Phillip)

At its current strength, Laura could cause severe damage to power providers and worsen affect the response of states already combatting the COVID-19 pandemic.

Additionally, the hurricane poses a threat to the US’ energy with much of the nation’s oil and natural gas production located in the Gulf.

Laura killed 20 people in Haiti and three in the Dominican Republic where it also caused power outages and severe flooding.