Hurricane Laura is expected to reach the coast late tonight and into Thursday morning as a Category 3 hurricane and could potentially reach a Category 4 status. The hurricane now carries 115 mph winds and is expected to continue strengthening. Laura could briefly become a Category 4 hurricane later today as it moves over the Gulf of Mexico and heads for landfall on the upper Texas and southwest Louisiana coasts by early Thursday morning. Residents in these areas should finish preparations now for a major hurricane strike.
A potentially catastrophic storm surge and damaging winds will batter the region and a threat of flooding rain and strong winds will extend well inland. Follow any evacuation orders issued by local or state officials. The path of Laura is expected to swing across the heart of Arkansas, bringing gusty winds and rain as early as Thursday afternoon.
Hurricane watches and warnings have been issued for Louisiana and Texas, and tropical storm watches and warnings have been issued through Louisiana, all the way to the Arkansas border and may need to be extended in south Arkansas, depending on how the system moves.
There are currently Flash Flood watches scheduled for most of Arkansas from Thursday, August 27th at 12pm until late into Friday evening. According to the National Weather Service, "The remnants of Hurricane Laura are expected to move into southwest Arkansas during the day Thursday, with heavy rain spreading northeastward into the region during the afternoon and evening. Total rainfall amounts of four to six inches are likely, with localized amounts in excess of seven inches possible through Friday evening."