Tropical Storm Laura is strengthening into a major hurricane expected to make landfall in the US states of Texas and Louisiana, both on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, US weather officials said Wednesday.

The storm has maximum sustained winds of 115 miles per hour (185 kilometers per hour), according to data from the National Hurricane Center.

“Potentially Catastrophic Storm Surge, Extreme Winds, and Flash Flooding Expected Along the Northwest Gulf Coast Tonight,” the center warned on Twitter.

“Laura is expected to bring multiple life-threatening hazards to the Gulf Coast beginning later today,” it added.

“Efforts to protect life and property within the Storm Surge and Hurricane Warning areas should be rushed to completion before storm surge and tropical storm force winds arrive.”

The center warned that “widespread flash flooding along small streams, urban areas, and roadways is expected this afternoon into Thursday from far eastern Texas, across Louisiana and Arkansas.”

The storm left the Caribbean on Tuesday after killing at least 24 people in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

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