Laura swirls toward U.S. Gulf Coast as category 2 hurricane

FILE PHOTO: A satellite view of Hurricane Laura, August 25, 2020, in this still image from video obtained via social media. NOAA via REUTERS

(Reuters) - Laura has strengthened into a category 2 hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico, rapidly intensifying as it barrels towards the coasts of Louisiana and Texas, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said on Wednesday.

Laura, located about 380 miles (610 km) southeast of Galveston, Texas, is packing maximum sustained winds of 105 miles per hour (165 km/h), the NHC said, adding it is likely to be a major hurricane at landfall and weaken rapidly thereafter.

Reporting by Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru; editing by Jason Neely