— Kweilyn Murphy (@KweilynWDSU) August 25, 2020
Hurricane Laura, which is gaining strength in the Gulf of Mexico, is expected to crash into the Louisiana and Texas coasts as a Category 3 storm on Wednesday evening. At least 20 million people are in the storm’s path and half a million have been ordered to evacuate immediately.
The National Hurricane Center is warning of storm surge, heavy rainfall, wind, tornadoes and surf swells in the southeastern U.S. Parts of Texas and Louisiana could see up to 13 feet of storm surge, and the storm is projected to produce 5-10 inches of rain.
Experts predict Hurricane Laura’s wind could mimic what was seen during Hurricanes Ike and Rita. Officials are saying this will be a direct hit, telling people they should prepare for the worst.
More than half a million people in Texas and Louisiana are being ordered to evacuate. Space is limited and evacuations are more complicated amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“Remember just because a hurricane came does not mean COVID-19 has or is going to leave Texas,” Governor Greg Abbott said.
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NASA announced Tuesday night that it will temporarily close the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, located in Houston, Texas, to all but essential personnel. The center will close on Wednesday, and won’t reopen “until the threat of Hurricane Laura has passed.”
NASA stressed that teams in northeast Texas and in Huntsville, Alabama, will support the space station and its crew, and that it expects “no impact on critical station operations or the safety of the crew.”