‘This storm is more powerful': Hurricane Laura tears through parts of Louisiana, Texas

ORLANDO, Fla. — “Unsurvivable storm surge,” “catastrophic damage” and “widespread flash flooding:” This is the warning from the National Weather Service as Hurricane Laura tears through parts of Louisiana and Texas.

Hurricane Laura made landfall overnight as a strong Category 4 storm, packing winds up to 150 mph — one of the strongest storms ever to make landfall in the United States.

The storm is slamming Louisiana and parts of Texas, bringing heavy rain and gale-force winds.

Read: Hurricane Laura now a Category 2 storm, ‘catastrophic’ storm surge, extreme winds continue in portions of Louisiana

“If you think you’re safe because you made it through Rita in south Louisiana, understand that this storm is more powerful,” Louisiana Gov. Greg Abbott said.

The storm intensified over the Gulf of Mexico as it barreled toward Texas and Louisiana.

“This is a dangerous, dangerous storm surge, and in some cases here, you look at some of these values and it’s not survivable,” said Ken Graham, National Hurricane Center director for NOAA’s National Weather Service.

Read: Storm Surge: What you need to know

Thousands flocked to evacuation centers around the state.

“This Hurricane Laura is going to be catastrophic for the areas it hits hardest,” an official said.

Overnight, warnings from officials became more urgent as the storm grew and tornado watches were activated across Louisiana’s coast.

Read: What do they mean? Disturbance, depressions, tropical, subtropical storms, hurricanes

Despite officials’ evacuation orders, many insisted on riding the storm out.

Hurricane Laura is expected to weaken rapidly as it moves inland.

Q Mccray

Q McCray, WFTV.com

Q McCray is an award-winning general assignment reporter.

Katlyn Brieskorn, WFTV.com

Katlyn Brieskorn is a Digital Assignment Editor at WFTV. She joined Channel 9 in July 2019.