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Hurricane Laura is strengthening and according to the Associated Press, could become a catastrophic Category 4 Hurricane by the end of the day on Wednesday. In the storm's path sit both the Texas and Louisiana coasts and residents who are boarding up homes and businesses before evacuating.

UPDATE: As of 1 p.m. Hurricane Laura is now a Category 4 Hurricane

On Wednesday, the National Hurricane Center warned that the storm surge along with Hurricane Laura would be "unsurvivable" and that storm surge could be expected up to 30 miles inland.

According to the AP, more than half a million people have been ordered to evacuate.

Hurricane warnings were issued from San Luis Pass, Texas, to Intracoastal City, Louisiana, and reached inland for 200 miles (322 kilometers). Storm surge warnings were in effect from Freeport, Texas, to the mouth of the Mississippi River.

A Category 4 hurricane can cause damage so catastrophic that power outages may last for months in places, and wide areas could be uninhabitable for weeks or months, posing a new disaster relief challenge for a government already straining to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

In the largest U.S. evacuation during this pandemic era, more than half a million people were ordered Tuesday to flee from their homes near the Texas-Louisiana state line, including the Texas cities of Beaumont, Galveston and Port Arthur, and the low-lying Calcasieu and Cameron parishes in southwestern Louisiana, where forecasters said storm surge topped by waves could submerge whole communities.

A National Weather Service meteorologist in Lake Charles, Louisiana — in the bullseye of Laura’s projected path — took to Facebook Live to deliver an urgent warning for people living south of Interstate 10 in southwest Louisiana and southeast Texas.

“Your life will be in immediate and grave danger beginning this evening if you do not evacuate,” Donald Jones said.

Hurricane Laura has strengthen rapidly and is expected to continue to strengthen. The AP reported that the storm is so strong that it could become a Tropical Storm when it reaches the Atlantic Ocean.

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