Tropical Storm Laura Above Northern Louisiana, Mid-Atlantic Could Be Next

Update (1440ET):  Tropical Storm Laura is inland, swirling over northern Lousiana and southeastern Arkansas, with a new long-term tracking model forecasting Mid-Atlantic states could be in the storm's path this weekend. 

While much of the focus is on Laura, the National Hurricane Center has pointed out two more disturbances forming in the Atlantic.  

Here's a better view of the busy Atlantic basin. 

Is the storm's next stop Washington, D.C.? 


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Update (1158ET): A new report from The Daily Advertiser, a daily newspaper based in Lafayette, Louisiana, is warning of a "possible chlorine leak" fire on the west side of Lake Charles. 

A fire has broken out on the west side of Lake Charles, causing gases and smoke to plume over I-10. 

The fire seems to have erupted at a chemical plant site or oil refinery, according to multiple reports on social media. 

I-10 is closed at Sulphur, Louisiana, due to the massive chlorine leak, a HAM radio operator tells the National Weather Service. 

The Cajun Navy, a non-profit citizen-led rescue relief team, has shared a video to Facebook warning residents to avoid entering Lake Charles through Sulphur. - The Daily Advertiser

Here's more footage of the fire: 

Lake Charles, Louisiana is a hard-hit area with widespread damage after Hurricane Laura made landfall early Thursday morning. 


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Update (0840ET): First light in Lake Charles, Louisiana, reveals widespread damage:


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The 'extremely dangerous' Hurricane Laura made landfall early Thursday morning as a Category 4 near Cameron, Louisiana, with maximum sustained winds of 150 mph. The eye of the storm pushed inland across southwestern Louisiana around 3:00 ET, with "catastrophic storm surge, extreme winds, and flash flooding," the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said. 

Around 0500ET, the NHC downgraded Laura to a Category 3 storm with winds up to 120 mph. The storm is moving northward through Louisiana as an "unsurvivable storm surge with large and destructive waves" batters the region. 

NHC's Latest Update

It's too early to speculate the total dollar amount of damage caused by Laura. Still, with floodwaters expected to penetrate 40 miles inland and take "several days" to recede, it could be in the billions of dollars, like other major storms to hammer the region in recent years.

Storm Surge

Storm Surge Map

"Hurricane-force winds and widespread damaging wind gusts will continue to spread well inland into portions of extreme eastern Texas and western Louisiana through the day," NHC said.

PowerOutage.US shows more than 300,000 customers are without power in Louisiana and a little more than 75,000 in Texas. 

Power Outages 

The storm is just north of Lake Charles and is moving north at 15 mph.

Significant damage is being reported in Downtown Lake Charles. 

Golden Nugget Lake Charles is damaged.

Forecast flooding depths in Lake Charles. 

More widespread damage is being reported around Lake Charles.

The long-term model tracker shows the storm could arrive in the Mid-Atlantic region by Saturday afternoon.