Laura Now Tropical Storm After Starting Thursday as Category 4 Hurricane
Hurricane Laura, which slammed the Louisiana coast as a powerful Category 4, has weakened to a tropical storm but is still a dangerous and potentially deadly system.As of Thursday afternoon, Laura was inland, centered east of Shreveport, Louisiana, with top sustained winds of 100 kilometers per hour. It is expected to drop up to 46 centimeters of rain in parts of Louisiana and Arkansas.A chemical fire burns at a facility during the aftermath of Hurricane Laura, Aug. 27, 2020, near Lake Charles, La.Tornadoes are also possible.At least four storm-related deaths have been reported. More than 700,000 people in Texas and Louisiana are without power, and there is widespread damage to homes and businesses.But Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Peter Gaynor says the overall damage is less than what was expected after forecasters were calling Laura a potentially catastrophic storm with an “unsurvivable” storm surge.President Donald Trump speaks during a Hurricane Laura briefing at FEMA headquarters, Aug. 27, 2020, in Washington. Vice President Mike Pence listens at right.Gaynor and others briefed President Donald Trump at FEMA headquarters Thursday in in Washington.Trump had already declared states of emergency in Louisiana, Texas and Arkansas, and he says he plans to visit the area this weekend.Forecasters say Laura will continue to weaken to a tropical depression late Thursday as it moves further inland and away from the warm Gulf waters that made it such a powerful storm.
Heavy rains are forecast for the mid-Mississippi Valley on Friday and the mid-Atlantic on Saturday.