The National Hurricane Center is warning that "today is the day to prepare" for Hurricane Laura, which could make landfall as a Category 3 storm.
The NHC on Tuesday said it was expecting Tropical Storm Laura to become a major hurricane over the northwestern Gulf of Mexico before it makes landfall in the United States, and not long after this early Tuesday forecast, Laura officially strengthened into a hurricane. The storm, which left at least 11 people dead in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, could make landfall on the coasts of Texas or Louisiana on Wednesday night or Thursday morning after becoming a Category 3 hurricane, reports The Weather Channel.
"This storm is going to be intensifying all the way up until landfall," National Weather Service meteorologist Donald Jones said, reports The Associated Press. "We want you to prepare as if it's going to be a Category 3."
The United States was facing the threat of two potential hurricanes making landfall at roughly the same time this week, but Tropical Storm Marco ultimately weakened into into a tropical depression. Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards (D) says that now, "our sights are on Laura," warning that "there will be storm surge impact, there will be wind impact, there will be rain impact."
According to CBS News' David Parkinson, "right now, about 17.5 million people are likely to feel the worst impacts of the storm."