Hurricane Laura makes landfall, rivaling Louisiana's worst storms

·2 min read

Hurricane Laura made landfall in Cameron, Louisiana, at about 1 a.m. on Thursday, packing sustained winds of up to 150 miles per hour, just shy of a Category 5 hurricane. The storm, which hit at high tide, has already caused flooding in southwestern Louisiana, and the National Hurricane Center warned residents about a potentially "unsurvivable storm surge" of up to 20 feet.

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Laura is the strongest hurricane on record to make landfall in southwest Louisiana, rivaling 2005's Hurricane Katrina in its ferocity, according to Phil Klotzbach, a hurricane researcher at Colorado State University. Its minimum pressure of 938 millibars is the fourth lowest on record in Louisiana, after Katrina, 2005's Hurricane Rita, and 1856's Last Island hurricane — the lower the pressure, the worse the storm — and its wind speed tops Katrina (125 mph) and Rita (115 mph). Hurricane Harvey hit Texas with 130 mph winds in 2017.

Weather Channel meteorologist Stephanie Abrams demonstrated what winds that high are like in real life when she narrowly escaped being struck by debris in Lake Charles, Louisiana, right in the hurricane's path.

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More than 500,000 people in Louisiana and Texas were told to evacuate before the storm, but at least 150 people declined to leave their homes in Cameron Parish. "They're thinking Cameron Parish is going to look like an extension of the Gulf of Mexico for a couple of days," warned Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D).

Edwards activated the state's National Guard to help with the hurricane response, and National Guard Brigadier General Keith Waddell suggested "those folks that are staying at home or staying in some other location" bring tools if the floodwaters force them into the attic, since "you may have to cut your way out of there before we can get to you the next day." Edwards also ordered parts of I-10 closed to traffic. You can track the storm at NBC.

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