Major Hurricane Laura reaches extremely powerful Cat 4 strength

WSAV Hurricane Central

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Hurricane Laura continues to strengthen through Gulf of Mexico, now reaching category 4 strength with 140 mph maximum sustained winds. It will make landfall near the border of Texas and Louisiana tonight or early Thursday morning.

As of 2 pm, Laura was centered 200 miles south-southeast of Lake Charles, Louisiana, moving northwest at 16 mph. Pressure continues to fall and is now down to 952 millibars.

There is little to prevent Laura from continuing to strengthen rapidly. It is strengthen as a category 4 with 145 mph winds and wind gusts up to 170 mph prior to making landfall near the Texas/Louisiana border. While it is not expected to reach category 5 strength, category 5 hurricane begins with winds of 157 mph.

In addition to heavy rain and strong wind, Laura could produce storm surge of over 10 feet for a large stretch of the Louisiana Coast. Surge of up to 15 feet is possible near the landfall point.

Laura will then move up and around an area of high pressure which will block the storm from moving toward the Coastal Empire and Lowcountry.

Once over land, Laura will quickly weaken and become a tropical depression by Friday. A Hurricane Warning is in effect for portions of eastern Texas and western Louisiana.

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