A car near Vermilion Bay is seen partially submerged in waters brought by Hurricane Laura approaching Abbeville, Louisiana, US, Wednesday. Reuters
Hurricane Laura made landfall in the southern US state of Louisiana Thursday and the monster category 4 storm prompted warnings of "unsurvivable" ocean surges and evacuation orders for hundreds of thousands of Gulf Coast residents.
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) said "extremely dangerous" Laura would bring winds of 150 miles per hour (240 kilometers per hour) and flash flooding to Louisiana.
Television images showed heavy rain lashing the coastal city of Lake Charles shortly after the NHC said the eye of the storm made landfall at around 1:00am local time (0600 GMT).
Earlier the NHC warned Laura could pummel the Louisiana and Texas coasts with an "unsurvivable storm surge" of up to 20 feet (six meters), and that tornadoes could form at the southern edges of the weather system.
"Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion," it said.
Between five to 10 inches (13 to 26 cms) of rain were expected on parts of the Gulf Coast between Wednesday and Friday.
Storm surges could penetrate up to 40 miles inland along parts of the coast, and peak surge coupled with high tide could see water as high as 15 to 20 feet above normal levels, it said.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott warned Laura's power was "unprecedented" and urged citizens to "get out of harm's way."
"Your property can be replaced," Abbott said, "your life cannot."
Vice President Mike Pence, speaking on the third night of the Republican convention, urged people in the storm's path to "heed state and local authorities".
The National Guard said it had mobilized more than 1,000 members in Texas to help with hurricane response, including 20 aircraft and more than 15 shelter teams.
Among the cities potentially in the path of the eye of the storm and under mandatory evacuation orders are Beaumont and Port Arthur, Texas, which suffered heavy damage from Hurricane Harvey three years ago.Associated Press
Delta, about 250 miles (400 km) south of Cameron, Louisiana with maximum sustained winds of 120 miles per hour (195 km/h) at present, could slowly weaken as it approaches the northern Gulf coast later on Friday.
Hurricane Ida-battered Louisiana residents and area businesses, who have endured almost a week without electricity as President Joe Biden walked the streets of a hardhit Louisiana neighbourhood and told local residents, "I know you're hurting, I know you're hurting.”
The storm-surge watches warn residents of possible flooding from rising waters and coastal inundations in the city, known worldwide for its Mardi Gras and jazz.
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