Hurricane Laura is expected to cause severe damage and disruption across Louisiana after battering the state with persistent downpours, with an estimated 12 inches of rain expected to fall in a matter of hours. The National Weather Service has urged anyone living on the path of Laura to take shelter as they warned of the “catastrophic” storm surge the hurricane could cause. The service’s latest advisory said: “Hurricane #Laura Advisory 29A: Extremely Dangerous Category 4 Hurricane Laura Makes Landfall Near Cameron Louisiana.
“Catastrophic Storm Surge, Extreme Winds, and Flash Flooding Occurring in Portions of Louisiana.”
A storm surge indicates there is a danger of life-threatening floods from rising water moving inland from the coast because of the hurricane.
The strength of Laura forced meteorologists to warn the potential surge would be “unsurvivable” by virtue of the strength of the storm.
Weather Channel forecaster Mike Seidel, who has been reporting from the eye of the storm, wrote on Twitter: “Lake Charles taking the eye wall of #Laura with a 128 MPH gust. Meanwhile in the eye in Cameron the winds have dropped to 10 MPH after gusting to 127 MPH.”
JUST IN: Hurricane Laura: ‘Unsurvivable’ Cat 4 storm to spark 20ft ‘wall of water’ – 150mph winds
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported the maximum sustained winds as Hurricane Laura made landfall had reached 150mph.
In the latest advisory, the NOAA said the forecast track suggests Laura will be moving across southwestern Louisiana through Thursday morning before taking a northwards turn during the afternoon.
They said: “The center of Laura is forecast to move over Arkansas tonight, and over the mid-Mississippi Valley on Friday, and the mid-Atlantic states on Saturday.
“Air Force reconnaissance and Doppler radar data indicate that the maximum sustained winds are near 150 mph (240 km/h) with higher gusts. Rapid weakening is forecast as Laura moves inland.”
READ MORE: Hurricane Laura makes landfall at Louisiana with 150mph winds and ‘unsurvivable’ surge
Mr Rappaport said: “Even back then we had great loss of life, with a smaller population at that point.
“We hope that the warnings that have been put out and the improved forecast and messaging that has gone forward has allowed people there to evacuate as necessary and prepare their homes.”
NOAA satellite video captured Hurricane Laura’s journey towards the Louisiana and Texas coast, showing the storm bursting with lighting.
The hurricane had its power increase nearly 70 percent in the 24 hours ahead of its landfall.