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HOUSTON (CW 39) — Around 7am we will see the effects of Hurricane Laura that made landfall overnight.

Hurricane Laura was downgraded to a Category 3 as it passed over Lake Charles at 4am Thursday morning.

Thursday morning at 12:22a.m., Laura officially made landfall along the Louisiana Gulf Coast at a span of approximately 700 miles wide.

Wind gusts are up around 125mph in Cameron and northbound toward Lake Charles before it moves further north and out as of Friday.

Winds gusts are also being felt at a span of at least 100 miles. Locally, wind gusts of 34mph are being felt from Houston and 25mph in Katy.

Wednesday night, Hurricane Laura intensified to a near-Category 5 monster hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico.

At 10 p.m., Hurricane Laura’s winds were recorded at 150 mph in the Gulf of Mexico. That’s just shy of a Category 5 storm by 7 miles per hour. Laura started Wednesday as a Category 2 storm.

The National Hurricane Center says Laura likely won’t get any larger. The storm is expected to make landfall along the Texas and Louisiana border around midnight.

In addition to wind damage, the National Weather Service forecasted “unsurvivable storm surge” in affected areas.

The good news in the latest update from the National Hurricane Center continues to keep the current track east of the Houston area.

Because of the continued threat, the NHC has issued a number of watches and warnings. These are the latest weather advisories as of 10 p.m. CT.

A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for:

  • Freeport Texas to the Mouth of the Mississippi River

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for:

  • San Luis Pass, Texas to Intracoastal City, Louisiana

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for:

  • Sargent, Texas to San Luis Pass
  • East of Intracoastal City, Louisiana to the mouth of the Mississippi River

A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for:

  • Mouth of the Mississippi River to Ocean Springs, Mississippi
  • Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Maurepas, and Lake Borgne

A Hurricane Watch is in effect for:

  • East of Intracoastal City to west of Morgan City, Louisiana

Meteorologists say people need to take protective actions and listen to local officials on evacuation orders.

According to the National Hurricane Center, Laura should approach the Texas and southwest Louisiana coasts later tonight and move inland near those areas overnight into Thursday morning.

“We are expecting widespread power outages, trees down. Homes and businesses will be damaged,” said Donald Jones, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

Satellite images showed that Laura became “a formidable hurricane” Wednesday morning, threatening to smash homes and sink entire communities. It underwent “remarkable intensification.”

As noted above, storm surge is a major concern. The National Hurricane Center says surge from Laura could penetrate up to 30 miles inland from the immediate coastline in southwestern Louisiana and far southeastern Texas.

If the storm makes landfall in Louisiana as expected, Houston would be on the “clean” side of the storm, according to Meteorologist Lindsey Day. Generally, the strongest winds are on the right side of a hurricane.

Laura claimed its first U.S. victim on Wednesday — a surfer in Corpus Christi.

Prior to coming towards the U.S., the storm pounded Haiti and the Dominican Republic with heavy rain killing 11 people, according to reports.

EARLY VOTING in Harris County, Sugar Land, and Katy