LIVE: Hurricane Laura Threatens to Be One of Worst Gulf Storms | Your World Daily

(Aug. 26) Hurricane Laura has grown into a powerful Category 4 storm that’s poised to be one of the worst ever to hit the western U.S. Gulf, threatening to pummel the Texas-Louisiana border with deadly storm surges, flash floods and destructive winds that could inflict as much as $25 billion in damage.

With peak winds forecast to reach 145 miles per hour, the storm could be the strongest to hit Louisiana in more than 160 years. The storm is expected to slam into shore early Thursday with stronger winds than Hurricane Harvey had when it made landfall in Texas in 2017. For Laura to a become a Category 5 hurricane, the highest on the Saffir-Simpson scale, its top winds would need to reach 157 mph.

If Laura makes landfall in Louisiana with 145 mph winds, it will be the strongest hurricane to hit Louisiana since 1856, according to Colorado State University Research Scientist Phil Klotzbach.

Laura is just the latest storm to take shape in what’s already been an extremely active Atlantic hurricane season. With three months left to go in the season, Laura will be the seventh system to hit the U.S., a record for the time of year, and the first major hurricane to hit the Gulf Coast since Michael in 2018. Laura has prompted mandatory evacuations in coastal areas and is targeting the heart of America’s energy industry, shutting more than 80% of oil production in the Gulf of Mexico and a third of the Gulf Coast’s refining capacity.

The storm could cause as much as $25 billion in damage and economic losses, said Chuck Watson, a disaster modeler with Enki Research. The destruction to refineries could cost $5 billion alone.

For anyone living in an area that floods or is in the direct path of Laura’s landfall, “there is no calculation to be made: Get out,” Watson said. “Whatever fears you might have about Covid are secondary — even those with health issues that might make riding out a weaker storm an option.”

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