Newly upgraded from a tropical storm to a category 1 hurricane, Laura is headed across the Gulf of Mexico and is expected to hit land near the border of Texas and Louisiana. A storm surge of up to 11 feet and 15 inches of rain are expected.
The National Hurricane Center projected Tuesday morning that Laura will become a Category 3 “major” hurricane before landfall, with winds of around 115 mph. A major hurricane has winds of at least 111 mph.
The Texas cities of Galveston and Port Arthur have ordered mandatory evacuations. Jefferson County and Orange County, Texas have also ordered a mandatory evacuation to go into effect at 6:30 a.m. CDT Tuesday.
In Louisiana, residents of Grand Isle were ordered to evacuate, and mandatory evacuation orders were also issued for parts of Lafourche and Plaquemines Parishes. A number of other communities along the coast are also being evacuated.
Tropical Storm Marco has just passed along the mouth of the Mississippi River but weakened as it came near land. It is now downgraded to a tropical depression and is currently just off the coast of Louisiana.
The Atlantic hurricane season has been a record-breaker. Laura is the earliest L-named storm in the Atlantic Basin, breaking a record held by Luis, which formed Aug. 29, 1995. This season has had 13 named storms, which is well above-normal activity.