(The Center Square) – The storm surge from Hurricane Laura could reach 30 miles north into Southwest Louisiana and Southeast Texas, the National Hurricane Center warned early Thursday, even as the storm has been downgraded to a Category 2.
Laura made landfall overnight as a Category 4 storm with sustained wins of up tp 150 miles per hour, pounding rain and flash flooding. Its heavy winds and up to nine feet of storm surge destroyed buildings, local media outlets reported.
KTRK TV aired video of hurricane force winds blowing part of the roof off the Golden Nugget Casino in St. Charles.
More than 407,000 Louisiana residents were without power, according to PowerOutage.US, as were more than 103,000 in Texas.
As it moved further inland, it weakened to a powerful Category 2 hurricane, with sustained wins of 110 miles an hour.
In a 7 a.m. central time update, the National Hurricane Center said a Storm Surge Warning and a Tropical Storm Warning is in effect from High Island Texas to the mouth of the Mississippi River.
As of about 5:30 a.m., its eye was located 45 miles north-northwest of Lake Charles, La., according to the National Hurricane Center.
Its track has it reaching Arkansas early this afternoon, when it’s expected to weaken into a tropical storm.
Local news stations in Louisiana and Texas were reporting significant damages to homes and other buildings.