Laura is now a hurricane and is forecast to strengthen more before hitting the Gulf Coast

Laura grew to a hurricane on Tuesday and is expected to rapidly intensify in the next 36 hours as it barrels up the Gulf of Mexico toward Texas and Louisiana...

Posted: Aug 25, 2020 8:18 AM
Updated: Aug 25, 2020 10:15 PM

Laura grew to a hurricane on Tuesday and is expected to rapidly intensify in the next 36 hours as it barrels up the Gulf of Mexico toward Texas and Louisiana.

'Now that #Laura's eye is forming, there's just not a lot of doubt that this will be a large and extremely dangerous hurricane for eastern Texas and Louisiana,' National Hurricane Center Senior Hurricane Specialist Eric Blake tweeted. 'It is sobering to watch... please be smart if you are in the path.'

Hurricane Laura currently has maximum sustained winds of 85 mph, according to a NHC bulletin, and is forecast to intensify into a major Category 3 storm or higher over the next day or so, with winds potentially reaching 115 mph. The center of the storm is located 465 miles from Galveston, Texas, and it's moving at a rapid clip of 17 mph.

A hurricane warning has been issued for portions of the Texas and Louisiana coastline, according to the National Hurricane Center. The warning, an upgrade from the earlier hurricane watch, stretches from San Luis Pass, Texas, through Intracoastal City, Louisiana.

The warning includes Galveston and Galveston Bay, as well as portions of the Houston metro area.

The NHC warned that Laura is expected to produce 4 to 8 inches of rain from Wednesday night into Saturday, with isolated maximum amounts of 12 inches across parts of the Gulf Coast. This could cause widespread flash and urban flooding, the NHC said.

Laura's impending arrival comes as the Gulf Coast avoided a powerful storm in Marco, which significantly weakened before reaching the US.

As a Tropical Storm, Laura killed at least nine people in the Caribbean. When it makes landfall in the US, it could bring storm surge of 9-11 feet along portions of the coast, the NWS said, and the surge could 'could penetrate up to 30 miles inland,' in southwestern Louisiana and far southeastern Texas.

Evacuations in coastal Texas and Louisiana

Houston, the largest city in the region, is particularly vulnerable to flooding and could see some impacts from Laura. The concrete-filled city has notoriously poor drainage systems and a propensity to flood, such as during the overwhelming rainfall from Hurricane Harvey in 2017.

Laura's potential path and rapid intensification bears closer resemblance to Hurricane Rita in September 2005, the last time a major hurricane made landfall in Louisiana. Rita came just a month after Hurricane Katrina devastated the region, and its impending approach caused mass evacuations and gridlock on Texas highways.

More than 100 people died in Texas due to the evacuations, including 24 nursing home evacuees aboard a bus that caught fire and exploded.

The threat from Laura has already sparked evacuations in parts of Texas and Louisiana.

Galveston issued a mandatory evacuation order for all residents, citing the storm's strength and uncertain path, according to a post on the city website.

'We went through Ike in 2008. We learned a lesson,' Galveston Mayor Pro Tem Craig Brown told CNN's Erin Burnett, 'and a lot of people don't want to repeat on that, so many of our residents are heeding the warning, and we have provided transportation for those that need assistance, also.'

An estimate 20,000 residents remained in Galveston during Hurricane Ike, which devastated large parts of the island.

Mandatory evacuation orders have been issued in a number of coastal counties in Texas, including Jefferson County, Jasper County and Hardin County, officials said.

A mandatory evacuation was also announced for Calcasieu Parish in southwest Louisiana, and non-essential personnel are being ordered to leave the parish.

Voluntary evacuations were issued for parts of Houston Tuesday.

At the same time, government agencies and volunteer organizations moved to prepare for the incoming storm.

Texas predeployed two Urban Search and Rescue teams (USAR) and at least eight water rescue squads, according to a spokesperson for one of the teams.

'The uncertainties of this storm and its increasing strength have prompted mandatory evacuations for more than 300,000 residents in East Texas and along the Gulf Coast,' Merribeth Kahlich, a public information officer with one of the search teams, told CNN via email.

The American Red cross repositioned 700 workers and relief supplies ahead of Hurricane Laura's landfall, the group said.

Marco downgraded to tropical depression

With Marco no longer posing an impending threat, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said Monday night all eyes are now on Laura. His big concern was large amounts of rainfall and river flooding.

'There will be storm surge impact, there will be wind impact, there will be rain impact,' the governor said.

The Gulf was predicted to be in danger of back-to-back powerful storms with Laura striking within miles and 48 hours after Marco.

Edwards worried earlier in the week that 'there may not be much of a window' to enact power restoration and rescue efforts between storms.

But Marco made landfall near the mouth of the Mississippi River as a tropical storm, and later that night was downgraded once more to a tropical depression.

Overnight, Marco was traveling west along the Louisiana shoreline, but it will likely fizzle out over open waters as it heads toward Texas, said CNN meteorologist Michael Guy.

The tornadoes and storm surge that Marco threatened to bring along with it as it moved along the Gulf Coast are no longer a source of concern, Guy said. However, the storm could still be a rainmaker, and localized areas could see up to five inches of precipitation.

9 people killed in the Caribbean

At least nine people have died in the Caribbean, including several in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, due to Laura.

The victims include a 7-year-old boy who died along with his mother after a wall collapsed in their home in the Dominican Republic. Another person died after a tree fell on a house.

Dominican Republic President Luis Abinader said an army corporal was killed while helping with rescue efforts in Pedernales province.

Five people were killed in Haiti, including a 10-year-old girl, the country's civil protection agency said.

Lafayette
Clear
45° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 38°
Kokomo
Partly Cloudy
40° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 32°
Rensselaer
Partly Cloudy
37° wxIcon
Hi: 42° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 29°
Lafayette
Clear
45° wxIcon
Hi: 43° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 38°
Danville
Partly Cloudy
48° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 42°
Frankfort
Partly Cloudy
41° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 34°
Frankfort
Clear
41° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 34°
Monticello
Partly Cloudy
39° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 32°
Monticello
Partly Cloudy
39° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 32°
Logansport
Partly Cloudy
36° wxIcon
Hi: 44° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 29°
Mild Conditions Continue Wednesday
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

WLFI is promoting fire safety with FREE smoke detectors

 WLFI and several local fire departments are helping with your fire safety this winter. CLICK HERE. 

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 657037

Reported Deaths: 12450
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion901321624
Lake48105871
Allen35552632
Hamilton31839393
St. Joseph29538510
Elkhart25261412
Vanderburgh21115377
Tippecanoe19765197
Johnson16242352
Porter15838267
Hendricks15723296
Clark11843179
Madison11672314
Vigo11503228
Monroe10248158
Delaware9788178
LaPorte9720194
Howard9017194
Kosciusko8514107
Bartholomew7373147
Warrick7369146
Hancock7362128
Floyd7139164
Wayne6586188
Grant6395157
Morgan6040124
Boone603388
Dubois5868111
Dearborn540266
Henry539492
Marshall5390104
Cass537199
Noble506775
Jackson462063
Shelby458490
Lawrence4154111
Gibson399681
Harrison395160
Clinton392353
DeKalb382078
Montgomery381583
Knox354484
Miami354063
Whitley346235
Huntington338176
Steuben335955
Wabash328775
Putnam325959
Ripley325161
Adams320249
Jasper312943
White295351
Jefferson292770
Daviess284296
Fayette270255
Decatur269388
Greene259978
Posey259731
Wells255374
Scott248446
LaGrange240170
Clay238944
Randolph225076
Spencer215830
Jennings213544
Washington207727
Sullivan202038
Fountain200341
Starke185950
Owen181652
Jay177328
Fulton176437
Carroll175618
Perry172435
Orange170450
Rush163922
Franklin158335
Vermillion158040
Tipton145441
Parke137915
Pike127232
Blackford120027
Pulaski105643
Newton96431
Brown94639
Benton91113
Crawford90113
Martin80114
Switzerland7507
Warren74612
Union66810
Ohio52711
Unassigned0425

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events