‘Unsurvivable storm surge’ expected for parts of Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas

Tropical Storm Laura became a Category 2 hurricane early Wednesday morning and is expected to become a major hurricane Wednesday, according to officials with the National Weather Service’s National Hurricane Center.

Update 11:15 a.m. EDT Aug. 26: Hurricane Laura strengthened slightly Wednesday morning with maximum sustained winds at 125 mph, though it remained a Category 3 storm, according to the NHC.

Forecasters said Laura is expected to strengthen into “an extremely dangerous Category 4 hurricane” by Wednesday afternoon. On Thursday, the center of the storm is forecast to move over northwestern Louisiana and across Arkansas before reaching the mid-Mississippi Valley on Friday.

“Unsurvivable storm surge with large and destructive waves will cause catastrophic damage from Sea Rim State Park, Texas, to Intracoastal City, Louisiana, including Calcasieu and Sabine Lakes,” NHC officials said in a social media post Wednesday. “This surge could penetrate up to 30 miles inland from the immediate coastline.”

Officials said in an 11 a.m. advisory that tropical-storm-force winds are likely to arrive along the Gulf Coast within the next few hours.