Tracking the Tropics: Laura strengthening, forecast to make landfall as major hurricane


TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Hurricane Laura is continuing to grow stronger as it moves across the Gulf of Mexico and toward the United States.

Laura reached hurricane strength early Tuesday morning. By 11 p.m., maximum sustained winds increased to 90 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center. The NHC added that “significant strengthening is forecast” in the next 36 hours.

“Laura is forecast to become the first major hurricane – Category 3 or higher – of the season with a dangerous overnight landfall late Wednesday or early Thursday near the Louisiana-Texas border,” Max Defender 8 Meteorologist Ian Oliver said.

Laura is about 405 miles southeast of Lake Charles, Louisiana and 430 miles southeast of Galveston, Texas. It’s moving west-northwest at about 17 mph.

Hurricane and storm surge warnings are in effect for portions of the northwestern Gulf Coast, meaning there is the danger of life-threatening flooding and hurricane conditions. Mandatory evacuations are underway in parts of Louisana and Texas.

Once Laura makes landfall, the NHC says “rapid weakening” is expected.

A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for:

  • San Luis Pass, Texas to the Mouth of the Mississippi River

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for:

  • San Luis Pass, Texas to Intracoastal City, Louisiana

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for:

  • Sargent, Texas to San Luis Pass
  • East of Intracoastal City, Louisiana to the Mouth of the
    Mississippi River

A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for:

  • Freeport, Texas to San Luis Pass
  • Mouth of the Mississippi River to Ocean Springs, Mississippi
  • Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Maurepas and Lake Borgne

A Hurricane Watch is in effect for:

  • East of Intracoastal City to west of Morgan City, Louisiana


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