Tropical Storm Laura, not yet a hurricane, threatens coastal Texas and Louisiana

August 24, 2020, 5:04 PM UTC

Tropical Storm Laura, currently a few miles south of Cuba, is expected to make landfall in Louisiana and Texas late Wednesday night, bringing flooding rainfall and potential hurricane danger to the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Heavy rain and strong winds are already on tap for Cuba, Jamaica, and the Cayman Islands, according to meteorologists. By early Tuesday, Laura is expected to enter the Gulf of Mexico, where conditions could allow the storm to “strengthen significantly” into a proper hurricane, according to the Weather Channel.

A tropical storm is has maximum sustained surface winds between 39 mp.h. and 73 m.p.h. It becomes a hurricane once those winds reach 74 m.p.h.

An Aug. 24, 2020 forecast for Tropical Storm Laura from the National Hurricane Center.
An Aug. 24, 2020 forecast for Tropical Storm Laura from the National Hurricane Center.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

How bad could the damage be? It’s too early to tell, experts say. (Here’s the National Hurricane Center’s page for Laura, where you can track the storm’s progress.)

The center of the storm is currently forecast to make landfall near Lake Charles, La., about 140 miles east of Houston and 200 miles west of New Orleans. (Both of those cities are low-lying and prone to flooding, though neither is currently in the storm’s path.)