Hurricane Laura batters Louisiana, weakens to Category 2 after “catastrophic” landfall

Hurricane Laura made landfall early on Thursday in southwestern Louisiana as one of the most powerful storms to hit the state, with forecasters warning it could push a massive wall of water inland from the sea.

The storm pounded the Gulf Coast for hours with ferocious wind, torrential rains and rising seawater as it roared ashore over southwestern Louisiana near the Texas border, threatening the lives of people who didn’t evacuate.

Forecasters said Laura downgraded to a Category 2 hurricane about 6 hours after making landfall, with sustained winds of 100 mph (160 kph).

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In This Story: Louisiana

Louisiana is a southeastern U.S. state on the Gulf of Mexico. Its history as a melting pot of French, African, American and French-Canadian cultures is reflected in its Creole and Cajun cultures. The largest city, New Orleans, is known for its colonial-era French Quarter, raucous Mardi Gras festival, jazz music, Renaissance-style St. Louis Cathedral and wartime exhibits at the huge National WWII Museum.

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