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Laura now a depression, but not before leaving destruction as a major hurricane

Hurricane Laura slams into Louisiana as Category 4; flood, wind warnings follow
Hurricane Laura slams into Louisiana as Category 4; flood, wind warnings follow
Hurricane Laura slams into Louisiana as Category 4; flood, wind warnings follow
Hurricane Laura slams into Louisiana as Category 4; flood, wind warnings follow
Posted at 5:27 AM, Aug 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-28 01:06:24-04

Laura is now a depression, less than 24 hours after striking Louisiana as a Category 4 hurricane early Thursday morning.

The center of Laura has moved into Arkansas, dumping heavy rain there. There was also a tornado watch for parts of Arkansas late Thursday.

Laura made landfall near Cameron, Louisiana at about 1 a.m. CT on Thursday as an "extremely dangerous" Category 4 storm with 150 mph sustained winds, and “unsurvivable storm surge.”

The Category 4 rating makes Laura the strongest hurricane to make landfall in Louisiana in at least 60 years, according to the National Weather Service.

There are reports that six people have died from the storm, including a 14-year-old girl who died when a tree fell on her family's home. The governor is expecting more deaths to be reported.

As Laura moved over land Thursday morning, it lost much of its energy and was quickly downgraded in strength. There are concerns about tornadoes spinning up on the fringes of the storm and still the possibility of dangerous storm surge as the outer bands pick up ocean water and carry it over land.

The storm surge remains dangerous and could send water from rivers and lakes into nearby streets and towns. Flash flood warnings are in effect for a large section of Louisiana, from the coast up to north of Lake Charles, near Fort Polk. Experts expect flood waters will not recede for several days.

On early Thursday morning, NOAA's Coastal Inundation Dashboard showed storm surge warnings all across Louisiana's shoreline. The dashboard also noted that readings from Calcasieu Pass — a tributary near Cameron that flows into the Gulf of Mexico — showed that surge was recorded at about 9 feet as of 1:30 a.m. CT.

The storm is moving northeast, and could bring heavy rain to the Missouri Valley and Ohio Valley regions Friday and through the weekend.

The impact to Texas’ coast remains minor, with coastal flooding and a high risk of rip currents, according to the National Weather Service.

The National Hurricane Center issued an "extreme wind warning" for areas of Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana at about 11 p.m. ET on Wednesday. A fairly new and rarely-used warning, it's issued for areas expected to see winds of 115 mph or higher. Residents in the affected areas are urged to find a low-lying interior room and protect their heads.

Click here for more about hurricane categories.

Laura comes to the US after killing nearly two dozen people, including 20 in Haiti and three in the Dominican Republic, where it knocked out power and caused flooding.