Hurricane Laura at 150mph winds, near Category 5 — Texas-Louisiana landfall expected

Hurricane Laura is expected to make landfall late Wednesday or early Thursday near the Texas-Louisiana border. Winds are already in excess of 150 miles an hour, making it close to a category 5 storm.

The National Hurricane Center says "large and destructive waves will cause catastrophic damage" to a roughly 150-mile stretch of the Gulf Coast.

From the New York Times:

The storm had sustained winds of about 150 miles per hour with higher gusts as it powered north through the Gulf of Mexico, the National Hurricane Center said. Some strengthening is still possible before landfall, though the storm's most perilous threat may be what forecasters called an "unsurvivable storm surge."

Building up in front of Laura as it pushed through the Gulf was a surge of water that could reach as high as 15 to 20 feet in places, the center said, and extend up to 40 miles inland. The center warned that "large and destructive waves will cause catastrophic damage" to a roughly 150-mile portion of the Gulf Coast from Sea Rim State Park, Texas, to Intracoastal City, La.

If its 150 m.p.h. winds remain undiminished at landfall, Laura would be among the strongest storms to hit the United States, according to data compiled by Philip Klotzbach, a research scientist at Colorado State University who studies hurricanes. And it would be equal to the strongest-recorded hurricane ever to come ashore in Louisiana — a massive 1856 storm that so devastated Last Island, a pleasure retreat for sugar barons, that it all but disappeared.

Read more live coverage of Hurricane Laura at The New York Times.

Official site for data on the storm: HURRICANE LAURA — NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER and CENTRAL PACIFIC HURRICANE CENTER — National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration