Hurricane Laura made landfall in Louisiana near the Texas border early Thursday as a Category 4 storm with maximum sustained winds of 150 mph.
That made Laura the most intense hurricane to make landfall in Louisiana in 164 years, since what was called the Last Island Storm in 1856. It is also tied for the strongest hurricane on record to ever hit the state.
Laura made landfall in Cameron, Louisiana, around 1 a.m. (2 a.m. ET), according to the National Hurricane Center, which called it an “extremely dangerous” storm.
It was later downgraded to a Category 2 hurricane as it moves inland, where it is expected to travel north across Louisiana through Thursday afternoon. The National Weather Service has said that devastation could spread far inland in eastern Texas and western Louisiana.
Hurricane Laura, which made landfall as a Category 4 near Cameron, Louisiana, early Thursday morning, has been downgraded to a Category 2 with maximum sustained winds of 100 mph, according to an update from the National Hurricane Center.
It is located 20 miles north of Fort Polk, Louisiana, and is moving north at 15 mph. Much of the state is dealing with heavy rain and winds, and a tornado watch is in effect until 9 a.m. local time. Eleven million people are under flash flood watches from Louisiana up through western Kentucky.
Laura is being felt across a swath of the state, with hurricane-force winds extending outward up to 60 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extending outward up to 175 miles.
Forecasters say that Laura will continue to weaken to a tropical storm Thursday as it continues to move inland. By Friday, it is expected to be a tropical depression and could push heavy rain and strong winds into portions of the Tennessee and Ohio Valleys. The Mid-Atlantic and Northeast will see some rain on Saturday as Laura exits off the coast.