Hurricane Laura Weakens to Category 2 After Slamming Louisiana as a Cat 4
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Hurricane Laura has been downgraded into a Category 2 storm hours after making landfall in southwestern Louisiana near the Texas border early Thursday morning with Category 4 strength and screaming 150 mph winds.
The hurricane made landfall near Lake Charles, Louisiana at 1 a.m. CDT as authorities urged more than 580,000 coastal residents to evacuate. Although Hurricane Laura has downgraded to a Category 2, it is still extremely dangerous with 100 mph winds.
The National Hurricane Center had warned beforehand that Laura could bring an "unsurvivable" storm surge of 20 feet.
Unsurvivable storm surge with large and destructive waves will cause catastrophic damage from Sea Rim State Park, Texas, to Intracoastal City, Louisiana, including Calcasieu and Sabine Lakes. This surge could penetrate up to 30 miles inland from the immediate coastline. #Laura pic.twitter.com/bV4jzT3Chd— National Hurricane Center (@NHC_Atlantic) August 26, 2020
More than 290,000 homes and businesses are without power in Louisiana and Texas. Meanwhile, rescue services are already getting calls for help from those who did not evacuate.
"There are some people still in town and people are calling ... but there ain’t no way to get to them,” Tony Guillory, president of the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury, told The Associated Press.
Officials said search and rescue mission will begin as soon as conditions improve.
UPDATE: Conditions deteriorating rapidly in Lake Charles with winds gusting over 70 mph. DEPLOYED infrasound sensor of @ChasinSpin to measure the heartbeat of #HurricaneLaura pic.twitter.com/6DnxJqa86B— Reed Timmer (@ReedTimmerAccu) August 27, 2020
Hurricane Laura intensified into a Category 4 storm while it churched over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday.
"There are no signs it will stop soon," said the National Hurricane Center.
"Some areas, when they wake up Thursday morning, they're not going to believe what happened," said senior hurricane specialist Stacy Stewart.
Laura will push water onto more than 450 miles of coastline from Texas to Mississippi. Authorities have issued hurricane warnings from San Luis Pass, Texas to Intracoastal, Louisiana and storm surge warnings from Port Arthur, Texas to the mouth of the Mississippi River.
The weather service is warning people to expect catastrophic damage. "Power outages will last weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months," it said.
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CBN News contributor Chuck Holton is waiting out the storm in Lake Charles, Louisiana. He told CBN News' Efrem Graham this morning that conditions will change dramatically overnight.
"Right now where I'm standing on the shore of Lake Charles is ground zero for this storm as the track shows right now, so that by this time tomorrow, where I'm standing, could be maybe under 14 feet of water."
Operation Blessing is staging supplies in Bristol, Tennessee, ready to roll as soon as Laura hits and people need help.
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