Hurricane Laura has accelerated into a Category 4 hurricane ahead of its expected landfall late Wednesday.
The Weather Channel reported, “A catastrophic storm surge and damaging winds will batter the region and a threat of flooding rain and strong winds will extend well inland.”
“Laura is centered about 190 miles south-southeast of Lake Charles, Louisiana. It’s tracking to the northwest at 16 mph...Laura's maximum sustained winds jumped from 75 mph to 140 mph in the 24 hours ending 1 p.m. CDT Wednesday. That increase in maximum sustained winds easily meets the definition of rapid intensification in a hurricane.”
Texas Governor Greg Abbott declared disaster conditions in 36 counties around the Hurricane's path, and said plans were being made to evacuate affected residents while maintaining social distancing guidelines linked to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, while Louisiana, Governor John Bel Edwards warned of 'significant flooding' in coastal areas.
The Gulf region's key oil installations, which account for around 45% of the U.S.'s refining capacity, are bracing for the worst, with drillers pulling workers from more than 300 platforms around the area, taking some 1.56 million barrels of oil offline each day of the evacuation.
TheStreet’s Martin Baccardax reported that the hurricane was bumping oil prices up in premarket trading Wednesday, when the hurricane was still a category 3.
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