Louisiana and Mississippi could face possible tornadoes as Laura approaches
As Laura approaches the continental United States, the National Weather Service anticipates possible tornadoes in the hurricane’s outer bands over southeastern Louisiana and extreme southwestern Mississippi, according to a recent update from the NWS National Hurricane Center.
At 8 p.m. central time, the storm was located 95 miles from Lake Charles, Louisiana and Port Arthur, Texas with maximum sustained winds at 150 mph.
Laura poised to become one of strongest hurricanes to make landfall in continental U.S.
Laura is set to become one of the strongest hurricanes to make landfall in the continental United States.
If sustained wind speeds remain at 150 mph, Laura will become one of nine hurricanes to make landfall with 150 mph+ wind intensity since 1851.
The most recent to make landfall with winds at or above this speed was Hurricane Michael in 2018. Other such storms include Charley in 2004, Andrew in 1992, Camille in 1969, Labor Day in 1935, Indianola in 1886, and Last Island in 1856, according to meteorologist Philip Klotzbach.
Hurricane Laura’s maximum sustained winds near 150 mph
Hurricane Laura’s maximum sustained winds “have increased to near 150 mph,” according to the latest advisory by the National Weather Service’s National Hurricane Center.
The Category 4 storm could strengthen further before making landfall near the Texas-Louisiana border, according to the advisory.
San Antonio gets ‘way more’ hurricane evacuees than expected
SAN ANTONIO — A long line of cars stretched through a large parking area and spilled down the street as Hurricane Laura evacuees lined up to get hotel vouchers Wednesday afternoon.
Under the hot sun, people who said they were waiting between two to four hours tried staying cool in their car air conditioning.
“We’re praying we don’t run out of gas,” said Richard Thomas, 30, who said he had been waiting in line more than three hours. He left Beaumont, Texas at about 11 p.m. and arrived at 3 a.m. in San Antonio, he said. He came with several family members packed in two cars whom he had gathered to get away from the storm.
He and six others were in his car including three children and a pregnant woman.
San Antonio had expected 300 evacuees Tuesday night but 1,400 arrived by the end of the night, said Joe Arrington, San Antonio Fire Department spokesman. By 5 p.m. Wednesday, 2,103 had come to the help center to get hotel accommodations assigned to them.
“I just wanted to get my family safe,” Thomas said. He said he had stayed in Beaumont during Hurricane Harvey in 2017 due to work, but recently became unemployed because of the coronavirus, he said.
Because of the pandemic, the state had contracted for hotel rooms rather than set up large shelters.
The help center had been open since 3 p.m. Tuesday, but Arrington said because “we got way more people than we expected overnight” people were given a one-night stay in a hotel room Tuesday night and told to return Wednesday for what will likely be five- to seven-night stays.
Arrington explained people go through the welcome center for accountability purposes so if someone is looking for a loved one after the storm there is a good record. “Lessons learned from Katrina,” he said.
In a news conference Wednesday in Austin, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott had said that the large number of evacuees could signifying that people are taking the hurricane warnings seriously.
Gerald Warnell, 59, and his wife Helen, 56, from Orange, Texas, followed buses that were transporting evacuees out of the Gulf Coast to San Antonio. They arrived Tuesday night and went to a hotel, but waited in their car in the line while temperatures hit the mid 90s.
“We don’t have a lot of money. We don’t have gas right now. I’m hoping we can get a gas voucher so we can have some transportation,” said Warnell, who said he earns money doing odd jobs and his wife is disabled.
Ronnie Boyd, 28, was in a car with his sister Ashlee Love, 31 and her 12-year-old son. They arrived from Beaumont at 8 a.m. and said they had been waiting in line for four hours.
“It’s been stressful. We don’t know if we are going to go back to anything or not. We don’t know if we are going to go back to anything or not.”
Map: Hurricane Laura’s potential storm surge
Hurricane Laura’s storm surges are forecast to bring “catastrophic damage” to the shores of Texas and Louisiana.
Follow the probability of a storm surge greater than 3 feet above sea level in the map below. See a map tracking the hurricane’s forecast path here.