Hurricane Laura has made landfall as an extremely dangerous Category 4 storm near Cameron, Louisiana. A catastrophic storm surge and damaging winds is battering the region and a threat of flooding rain and strong winds will extend well inland.
An EXTREME WIND WARNING has been issued for southwestern Louisiana, including Lake Charles and Cameron. Violent winds are coming inland in Laura's eyewall. Shelter in place in the most interior room of the lowest dry floor of your home. Treat this warning like a tornado warning.
Laura is near the extreme southwest Louisiana coast and tracking to the north-northwest at about 15 mph.
The hurricane is a Category 4 and steady weakening is now expected through the morning hours.
Laura's maximum sustained winds jumped from 75 mph to 140 mph in the 24 hours ending 1 p.m. CDT Wednesday. That increase in maximum sustained winds easily meets the definition of rapid intensification in a hurricane.
Hurricane conditions are ongoing in southwestern Louisiana.
More than 9 feet of storm surge is inundating the coast near Cameron, Louisiana. A water level station at Eugene Island, Louisiana reported about 3.2 feet of inundation above ground level early Wednesday afternoon and a wind gust of 45 mph.
A 133 mph gust and an 85 mph sustained wind were measured in Lake Charles early Friday morning. A 127 mph wind gust was measured early Thursday morning at Calcasieu Pass, Louisiana and a sustained wind of 93 mph was recently measured in Cameron, Louisiana.
NOAA's Storm Prediction Center has issued a tornado watch valid until 8 a.m. CDT for parts of Louisiana and southeastern Texas. The watch area includes Baton Rouge, Alexandria, Lake Charles and Beaumont.