NEW ORLEANS (AP) – Laura has become a hurricane shortly after moving over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

It’s expected to continue intensifying on a path to hit the U.S. coastline late Wednesday or early Thursday as a major Category 3 hurricane capable of “devastating” damage. Forecasters warn that seawater higher than a basketball hoop could swamp entire communities.

Towns near the Louisiana-Texas state line are bracing for the worst. Laura already killed at least 11 people in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, where it knocked out power and caused flooding in the two nations that share the island of Hispaniola.

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