Gov John Bel Edwards held a press briefing Tuesday and addressed the threat of Hurricane Laura and the preparations underway ahead of potential landfall on or near the Louisiana coast.
As of Tuesday evening, Laura is expected to make landfall at 1 a.m. Thursday morning along the Louisiana - Texas line.
Edwards said that even though the storm has shifted slightly there has been no major change to the storm's track over the course of Tuesday.
He said that parts of the state will begin seeing impacts from the storm sometime tomorrow as tropical storm force winds will increase over the course of Wednesday.
Edwards said that Laura is shaping up to look like Hurricane Rita did 15 years ago in regard to its forecast intensity and where it is making landfall along the state.
Edwards said to expect a significant amount of storm surge between Texas and Louisiana as well as winds from the Category 3 storm that will be more pronounced than thought and will cover more of the state.
Edwards again advised residents not to become fixated too much on the forecast cone of the storm as impacts from the storm will be felt outside of the cone.
He said that historically a storm will make landfall inside the forecast cone only two thirds of the time.
Edwards said that rainfall will be significant as well and rivers won't be able to drain as quickly as they usually would from the storm surge slowing them, which could cause flooding in areas that don't usually see it.
He said that the good news from the storm is that its forward speed should allow it to travel quickly up through the state and exit into Arkansas.
Benjamin Shot with the National Weather Service New Orleans office said that right now Laura is a hurricane moving through a very warm Gulf of Mexico with very little in its path to impede its development.
Shot said that Laura is forecast to have 115 mph winds with gusts up to 140 mph when it does make its way on shore.
Shot said the storm surge could be life threatening and even catastrophic as the Southwest portion of the state will be heavily impacted by it.
He said to expect heavy rainfall between 5 - 10 inches of rain and warned of flash flooding underneath the storm's rain bands.
Shot also advised residents not to attempt to cross flooded roads as one foot of water can float a vehicle and two feet of water can carry it away.
He highly discouraged travel of any kind when the storm hits.
Shawn Wilson with the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development said that his office has been preparing for the storm by distributing high water signs, safety cones and other tools to make sure roads are safe.
He said that he has received emergency declarations from the federal government to waive certain transportation regulations that will allow trucks and other carriers to move more emergency supplies ahead of the storm.
You can watch the full press briefing from Tuesday evening below:
For the latest on Hurricane Laura, click here
For information on Evacuations, Curfews, and sandbag locations click here.
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