Approaching US Hurricane 'will cause unsurvivable storm surge'

The category four storm is approaching Texas and Louisiana

Approaching US Hurricane 'will cause unsurvivable storm surge'
Hurricane Laura

Hurricane Laura is expected to cause an "unsurvivable" storm surge, extreme winds and floods as it hits the US, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) says.

The category four storm is approaching Texas and Louisiana with maximum sustained wind speeds of 150 miles per hour (240km/h).

If it maintains those speeds it would be one of the strongest storms to ever hit the US south coast.

Half a million residents have been told to leave the area.

As of 23:00 local time (04:00 GMT) the centre of the hurricane was 65 miles (105km) south east of Port Arthur in Texas.

Laura and another storm, Marco, earlier hit the Caribbean, killing 24. Marco has already struck Louisiana, bringing strong winds and heavy rain on Monday.

Initially it was feared that both storms would hit Louisiana as hurricanes within 48 hours of each other - an unprecedented event - but Marco was downgraded to a tropical storm.



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Laura, on the other hand, has strengthened rapidly from a category three, gaining 70% in power in just 24 hours, to a category four, maximum sustained winds of 140mph (220km/h).

It is now close to becoming a category five storm, which would mean maximum sustained winds of 158mph (254km/h).

Hurricane Katrina - which devastated New Orleans in 2005, killing more than 1,800 people - was a category five storm before weakening to a category three when made landfall in the US.

US President Donald Trump told those potentially affected by the storm to "listen to local officials" as the storm was "very dangerous and rapidly intensifying".

Evacuations are complicated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Texas Governor Greg Abbott urged families who could afford it to take refuge in hotels and motels to be distanced from others.