Thousands of people were ordered on Tuesday to evacuate the coasts of Texas and Louisiana after Hurricane Laura strengthened and became a hurricane that could hit the area with fierce winds and fatal flooding.
More than 385,000 residents were told to flee the Texas cities of Beaumont Galveston and Port Arthur and still more were ordered to evacuate the southwestern lowlands of Louisiana where forecasters said a storm surge of more than 3.35 meters high (11 feet) , surmounted by waves, could submerge entire cities.
The National Hurricane Center projected that Laura will become a Category 3 hurricane before her eye makes landfall, with winds of around 185 km / h (115 mph), capable of causing devastating damage, regardless of
"The main issue is that we are going to have a very strong hurricane that will make landfall on Wednesday night or early Thursday," said the deputy director of the National Center for Hurricanes, Ed Rappaport.
Meteorologists said that water from the Gulf of Mexico could rise along a stretch of coastline of more than 724 kilometers (450 miles) from Texas to Mississippi . Hurricane warnings were issued from San Luis Pass, Texas, to Intracoastal City, Louisiana; as well as storm surge warnings from the Port Arthur, Texas flood protection system to the mouth of the Mississippi River.
As crosswinds tore down Marco, who still drenched the region with heavy rains, there was little to stop Laura from gaining strength. Almost all of the computer simulations that forecasters rely on show rapid strengthening sometime in the next few days.
“The waters are warm enough everywhere to fuel a major hurricane, Category 3 or even higher. . The waters are very warm where the storm is now and they will be all the way to the Gulf coast, ”said Rappaport.
Laura passed through Cuba as a tropical storm after causing at least 11 deaths in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, where it caused blackouts and floods in the two nations that share the island of Hispaniola. The deaths reportedly included a 10-year-old girl in whose house a tree fell and a mother and young son who were crushed by a collapsing wall.
Now meteorologists are turning their attention to the south coast. of the United States, where a rise of 3.4 meters (up to 11 feet) of seawater, a so-called storm surge, could flood the coast from High Island in Texas to Morgan City, Louisiana, the hurricane center reported.  On top of that, up to 15 inches (38 centimeters) of rain could fall in some places in Louisiana, said Donald Jones, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
Laura had maximum sustained winds of 120 km / h (75 mph) Tuesday morning after passing between the western tip of Cuba and the Mexican Yucatan peninsula. The meteor's vortex was 940 km (585 miles) southeast of Lake Charles, Louisiana, and was moving west-northwest at 26 km / h (16 mph).