Hurricane Laura has weakened slightly after making landfall earlier Thursday morning in the southeastern state of Louisiana as a dangerous Category 4 storm.
The National Hurricane Center says Laura is now carrying maximum sustained winds of 195 kilometers an hour, making it a Category 3 storm on the five-level scale that measures a hurricane’s potential strength and destructiveness.
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Hurricane Laura made landfall early Thursday morning in the coastal town of Cameron, Louisiana, located about 86 kilometers south of Lake Charles. The storm triggered life-threatening storm surges, flash floods and extreme winds when it first made landfall, but forecasters are now saying Laura will weaken rapidly as it makes its way northward across Louisiana Thursday, eventually becoming a tropical storm later in the day.
The storm continues to head towards the city of Lake Charles at a rapid speed of 24 kilometers an hour, but storm surge, tropical storm warnings and hurricane watches in parts of neighboring Texas and Louisiana have been discontinued.
Laura is still predicted to soak parts of the South with massive rainfall as it moves inland and weakens.
But forecasters say it could strengthen back to a tropical storm as it moves into the warm Atlantic by early next week and threaten the northeast.
Laura killed 24 people in the Dominican Republic and Haiti when it struck there as a tropical storm earlier this week.