Hurricane Laura could cause 'unsurvivable storm surge'

“You’re going to hear the word ‘unsurvivable’ to describe the storm surge we are expecting.”

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards issued a dire warning on Wednesday to thousands of residents to evacuate with the hours they had left… as Hurricane Laura strengthened to a Category 4 storm in the Gulf of Mexico, on track to hit Louisiana and Texas overnight.

The National Hurricane Center said the storm is expected to pack winds of up to 145 mph before landfall… And could cause catastrophic damage and "unsurvivable storm surge.”

Texas Governor Greg Abbott warned residents to take the threat seriously:

“…That storm surge could continue inland for about 30 miles… If you are unable or do not get out of harm’s way, the reality is for almost a 24 hour time period, there will be no ability for rescuers or aiders to get in and assist you in any way.”

Some 620,000 people were under mandatory evacuation orders in Louisiana and Texas.

“It’s supposed to be pretty bad man. You know I’m glad we got out of there and everything.”

Mike Larry left his home in Beaumont, Texas and drove over 250 miles to get out of harm’s way.

Officials want more people to do the same.

On the southern coast of Louisiana, officials warned there could be a massive storm surge.

Ben Schott with the National Weather Service:

“There will be a wall up to 18 to 20 feet at the highest point, most likely. As you can see in this map here zoomed in to Cameron and Calcasieu Parishes that the majority of Cameron Parish will be underwater at some point.”

Governor Edwards said the state's entire National Guard had been activated for the first time since 2012.

Laura is now the strongest August hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico since Katrina, which made landfall in Louisiana and Mississippi 15 years ago – almost to the day.