Hurricane Laura slammed into the Gulf Coast near Cameron, Louisiana, at about 1 a.m. CDT as an extremely strong Category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 150 mph and what officials described as “unsurvivable” and “catastrophic” storm surge that could penetrate up to 40 miles inland.
As of 4:00 a.m. the storm had weakened to a Category 3 with sustained winds near 120 mph and was expected to become a tropical storm later today. Hurricane Laura shows many characteristics of a storm fueled by climate change. “Bathtub-level hot” waters in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, climate scientist Michael Mann told CNBC, fuel storms’ rapid intensification, leaving coastal communities less time to prepare and evacuate. “I’m running out of words,” climate scientist Eric Holthaus posted on Twitter.
“Hurricane Laura is now one of the fastest-intensifying storms in recorded history in the Gulf of Mexico.” Officials in Louisiana’s Vermilion Parish were even more pointed, in their request to residents who refused to follow mandatory evacuation orders: “Write your name, address, social security number and next of kin and put it a Ziplock bag in your pocket.”