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Photo: NOAA via AP

Texas and Louisiana are in grave peril overnight from the landfall of Hurricane Laura, an "extremely dangerous" and strengthening Category 4 storm — which is expected to bring "catastrophic" winds, storm surges and flash flooding.

Details: Laura's eyewall — the most powerful part of a hurricane — was moving onshore over southwestern Louisiana, the National Hurricane Center said just after midnight ET.

"TAKE COVER NOW! Treat these imminent extreme winds as if a tornado was approaching and move immediately to the safe room in your shelter. Take action now to protect your life!"
— National Hurricane Center
  • Laura was packing maximum sustained winds of 150 mph — 7 mph short of a Category 5 hurricane as it neared Louisiana and Texas.
  • A sustained wind of 45 mph was reported at Cypremort Point on Wednesday night, the National Hurricane Center noted in a 10 p.m. update.
  • The NHC issued an "extreme wind" alert and warned, "Winds will increase rapidly soon as the northern eyewall moves onshore."

The big picture: Hundreds of thousands of people in Texas and Louisiana were ordered to evacuate ahead of Laura's expected arrival near the Texas-Louisiana border Thursday. It could be the first hurricane to make landfall as a Category 4 since Hurricane Harvey devastated the Gulf Coast in 2017.

  • Laura has killed at least 23 people after lashing Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
  • This upcoming weekend is the 15th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina making landfall as a Category 3 storm along the Louisiana coast.

What they're saying: "In my five years as governor, I don’t think I’ve ever had a press conference where I’m trying to convey the sense of urgency I’m trying to convey right now," Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said.

  • Although Texas officials were setting up shelters, Gov. Greg Abbott urge people to isolate in hotels to protect themselves from the coronavirus, the New York Times notes.

The National Weather Service warned Wednesday: "Unsurvivable storm surge with large and destructive waves will cause catastrophic damage from Sea Rim State Park, Texas, to Intracoastal City, Louisiana." The surge is projected to reach as high as 20 feet and penetrate up to 40 miles inland.

  • "Unsurvivable is not a word that we like to use," said NWS meteorologist Ben Schott.
  • "It’s one I’ve never used before."
Photo: NOAA

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

Go deeper

Updated Nov 10, 2020 - Science

Theta becomes 29th named storm in record hurricane season

A satellite image of Subtropical Storm Theta. Photo: National Hurricane Center/Twitter

Subtropical Storm Theta formed in the Northeast Atlantic Monday night, becoming the 29th named storm of the 2020 hurricane season, the National Hurricane Center confirmed.

Why it matters: The formation of Theta, which was some 995 miles southwest of the Azores overnight, breaks the record for the most named storms in a season — set in 2005. The World Meteorological Organization sets 21 alphabetical names for every season (excluding Q,U, X, Y and Z). This is the second time ever it's used all and had to turn to the Greek alphabet.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with further context on the hurricane season.

Georgia governor declines Trump's request to overturn election result

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp pushed back on Saturday after President Trump pressed him to help overturn the state's election results.

Driving the news: Trump asked the Republican governor over the phone Saturday to call a special legislative session aimed at overturning the presidential election results in Georgia, per the Washington Post. Kemp refused.