Laura downgraded to a tropical storm: Here is where it is going next

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HOUSTON — Residents in western Louisiana received the worst impacts from Hurricane Laura, which was a major Category 4 hurricane at landfall late Wednesday into early Thursday morning.

The hurricane brought with it a deadly storm surge and damaging winds, but at this time it appears Texas was spared the worst of the weather.

As of noon Thursday, the National Hurricane Center had downgraded Laura to a tropical storm with 70 mph winds. It was moving north at 15 mph. Laura previously remained a strong hurricane for several hours after making landfall and pushing inland, even as it approached the Shreveport area.

Back in Texas early this morning, there were nearly 100,000 without power in the Beaumont area. In Houston, we didn’t even get strong enough wind gusts to knock out power, and our rain chances are decreasing as the storm stayed well east of us.

Where will Laura go now?

Tropical Storm Laura continues to weaken but will bring wind and rain to northern Louisiana and Arkansas on Thursday afternoon.

There is no danger or risk that his tropical system will loop back around to the coast and bring flooding rains, unlike in the past. Laura is moving north fast, which means seriously flooding (from the rain) will not be a widespread issue – even in Louisiana.

In the tropical tracker below you can see Laura will continue to move north in Louisiana, just east of East Texas. Texas is on the “dry side” of the storm, but those near the border will still get gusty winds and rain, including in Lufkin and Nacagdoches. The hurricane’s center went between Shreveport and Monroe before heading into Arkansas and continuing to lose intensity.

It will then curve to the right, bringing rain and gusty 30 to 40 mph winds to areas in Tennessee, Indiana, Ohio and West Virginia. By Saturday afternoon, whatever is left of Laura will be on the East Coast and a thing of the past – from a weather standpoint.

Track Hurricane Laura

Hurricane season is not over: stay prepared

RELATED: Hurricane preparation tips for insurance: Before, during and after the storm

Here is a list of important items you should have at home or take with you if you evacuate before a hurricane:

  • Water – at least 1 gallon daily per person for 3-7 days; also fill bathtub and other containers; Gator Aid is good to fend off dehydration
  • Food – at least enough for 3-7 days; non-perishable packaged or canned food; juices; foods for infants or elderly family members; snack foods; food for special diets
  • Non-electric can opener
  • Cooking tools, fuel
  • Paper plates and cups, plastic utensils
  • Bedding: Blankets, Pillows, etc.
  • Clothing
  • Rain gear
  • Sturdy shoes
  • First Aid Kit, Medicines, Prescription Drugs
  • Toilet paper, paper towels, trash bags
  • Toiletries, hand sanitizer, hygiene items, moisture wipes, dry shampoo
  • Flashlight, batteries, lantern
  • Radio: Battery operated and NOAA weather radio
  • Telephones: Fully charged cell phone with extra battery; chargers; traditional (not cordless) telephone set
  • Cash (with some small bills) and Credit Cards: Banks and ATMs may not be available for extended periods
  • Important documents: Place in a waterproof container or watertight resealable plastic bag: Should include insurance, medical records, bank account numbers, Social Security card, prescriptions, etc.
  • Tools: Keep a set with you during the storm
  • Gas: Fill up your vehicles several days before landfall is expected; Gas stations could lose power during a storm and supply trucks may not be able to reach the area
  • Pet care items: Proper identification, immunization records, medications, ample supply of food and water; a carrier or cage; muzzle and/ or leash
  • Bleach without lemon or any other additives
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Keys
  • Toys, books and games for children
  • Duct tape
  • Cell Phone charging stations – locations where you can charge mobile devices