LAKE CHARLES, La. (NBC) – Hurricane Laura is now a Category 3 storm as it churns toward the Gulf Coast.
Laura is now located some 280 miles from Lake Charles, Louisiana, moving northwest at 15 miles-per-hour and packing sustained maximum winds of 115 miles-per-hour.
The storm grew nearly 70% in power in just 24 hours to reach Category 3 status.
Weather officials expect Laura to send water onto more than 450 miles of coast from Texas to Mississippi.
Hurricane warnings have been issued from San Luis Pass, Texas, to Intracoastal City, Louisiana, and storm surge warnings from the Port Arthur, Texas Flood Protection System to the mouth of the Mississippi River.