TERRIFYING weather warnings have been issued for the US as Hurricane Laura is expected to cause an “unsurvivable” storm surge.
The hurricane was upgraded to a Category 4 storm as it approached the coasts of Texas and Louisiana today. The National Hurricane Center has urged people to “rush” to finish preparations ahead of the storm.
According to reports, at least half a million people have been told to leave the region.
The powerful storm has been linked to the catastrophic Hurricane Katrina, which devastated the city of New Orleans and surrounding areas.
Hurricane Katrina was a Category 5 storm and caused more than 1,200 deaths and $125 billion in damage back in 2005.
Benjamin Schott, National Weather Service meteorologist, said: “To think that there would be a wall of water over two storeys high coming on shore is very difficult for most to conceive, but that is what is going to happen.
“The word ‘unsurvivable’ is not one that we like to use, and it’s one that I’ve never used before.”
Simon King, BBC Weather presenter, tweeted: “Unsurvivable. Catastrophic. Historic. Areas becoming uninhabitable.
“Words you really don’t want to see/hear as Cat 4 #HurricaneLaura bears down on you.
“Reminds me of words used ahead of Katrina 15 years ago. Hope warnings and evacuations were heeded and everyone stays safe.”
Laura and another storm, Marco, hit the Caribbean earlier killing at least 24 people.
Casualties included a baby and an eight-year-old child in Haiti.
It was originally feared both storms could hit Louisiana within 48 hours of each other.
But Marco has since been downgraded to a tropical storm.
US President Donald Trump has urged people to “listen to local officials” as the storm intensified.
Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Texas governor Greg Abbott has told families who can afford to take refuge in hotels to maintain social distancing.
Mr Abbott said: “The power of Hurricane Laura is unprecedented, and Texans must take action now to get out of harm’s way and protect themselves.”
The NHC tweeted: “Hurricane force winds and widespread damaging wind gusts will also spread well inland into portions of eastern Texas and western Louisiana early Thursday.
“Unsurvivable storm surge with large and destructive waves will cause catastrophic damage from Sea Rim State Park, Texas, to Intracoastal City, Louisiana, including Calcasieu and Sabine Lakes.
“This surge could penetrate up to 30 miles inland from the immediate coastline.”
According to the BBC, the hurricane has maximum sustained winds of 125mph and could reach up to 145mph within the next few hours.
As the storm ripped through Cuba, the Dominican Republic and the US territory of Puerto Rico, Mr Trump declared a state of disaster.
In Cuba at least 160,000 people were evacuated, while thousands were evacuated in the Dominican Republic.
Jamaica also reported landslides and flooded roads due to the deadly storm.