(AP) -- DELCAMBRE, La. -- Laura roared toward landfall in southwestern Louisiana near the Texas border as a menacing Category 4 hurricane late Wednesday, raising fears of a 20-foot storm surge that forecasters said would be “unsurvivable” and capable of engulfing entire communities. Ocean water topped by white-capped waves rose ominously as the monster neared.
Authorities implored coastal residents of Texas and Louisiana to evacuate, but not everyone did before winds began buffeting trees back and forth in an area that was devastated by Rita in 2005.
The storm grew nearly 87% in power in just 24 hours to a size the National Hurricane Center called “extremely dangerous.” Drawing energy from the warm Gulf of Mexico, the system was on track to arrive early Thursday during high tide as the most powerful hurricane to strike the U.S. so far this year.
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