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The NOAA Hurricane Hunters reported that Laura became a hurricane shortly after moving over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
It’s expected to continue intensifying on a path to hit the U.S. coastline late Wednesday or early Thursday as a major Category 3 hurricane capable of “devastating” damage.
As of 11 p.m., Laura has 90 mph winds and gusts up to 90 mph. The storm is moving west-northwest at 17 mph.
Laura is about 430 miles southeast of Galveston, Texas.
Galveston has issued a mandatory evacuation, instructing all residents to leave the island on Tuesday.
Recent forecasts show Laura making landfall somewhere between central Louisiana and Houston Wednesday night into Thursday morning.
Forecasters warn that seawater higher than a basketball hoop could swamp entire communities.
Towns near the Louisiana-Texas state line are bracing for the worst. Laura already killed at least 11 people in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, where it knocked out power and caused flooding in the two nations that share the island of Hispaniola.
Laura would transition to a post-tropical depression and work its way through the Ohio River Valley and could race east to bring North Carolina some rain Friday night into Saturday.
Marco brought heavy rain, gusty winds and significant storm surge to parts of the gulf coast Monday night into Tuesday morning. Marco made landfall near the mouth of the Mississippi River, close to New Orleans around 6 p.m. Monday night but the ragged storm continued to weaken.
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- Marco made landfall Monday evening and Laura will make landfall Wednesday.
- For North Carolina, Laura brings the possibility of rain Friday and Saturday.
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