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Map: Hurricane Laura's potential storm surge

Track the likelihood of a storm surge along the Gulf Coast.

Hurricane Laura’s storm surges are forecast to bring ‘catastrophic damage’ to the shores of Texas and Louisiana.

The National Hurricane Center described the coming storm surge as “unsurvivable,” bringing with it waters as high as 20 feet above ground level and surging as far as 40 miles inland.

The Hurricane Center urged citizens in the surrounding area Wednesday afternoon to have “all preparations to protect life and property” rushed to completion in the next few hours.

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Follow the probability of a storm surge greater than 3 feet above sea level in the map below. See a map tracking the hurricane’s forecast path here.

According to the Hurricane Center, storm surges are an “abnormal rise of water generated by a storm, over and above the predicted astronomical tides.” The rise in such water levels can cause extreme flooding, especially if such a surge coincides with high tides. Currently, the Hurricane Center has indicated that in areas from Johnson Bayou to the Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge, both in Louisiana, water could reach as high up as 15-20 ft above the ground due to the storm surges.

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Areas could also be affected by both the storm surges and heavy rainfall. The Hurricane Center indicates that up to 15 inches of rain will be expected across portions of western Louisiana to far-eastern Texas, and northward into much of Arkansas. The rainfall will cause widespread flash flooding and urban flooding.

A storm surge warning was put in effect Wednesday afternoon along the coast from Freeport, Texas, to the mouth of the Mississippi River. The warning means there is a “danger of life-threatening inundation, from the rising water moving inland.” A storm surge watch has also been added from the mouth of the Mississippi River to Ocean Springs, Mississippi, and a trio of lakes -- Pontchartrain, Maurepas and Borgne.

Joe Murphy contributed.