Laura blasts Gulf Coast with wind, rain and wall of seawater

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LAKE CHARLES, LA (AP) — Laura has weakened to a tropical storm after blasting the Louisiana coast with high winds and heavy rain for hours.

The system that came ashore as a Category 4 hurricane is being blamed for two deaths and widespread damage around Lake Charles, an industrial and casino city of 80,000 people.

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It is the most powerful storm to hit the U.S. this year. Laura. Forecasters predicted an unsurvivable storm surge.

More than 580,000 people were ordered to evacuate, but at least some stayed behind.

Rescuers have to wait for winds to die down before looking for survivors. Laura is now headed toward Arkansas.