The change in the market structure of the global crude benchmark suggests that concern over a potential supply glut has eased in recent days. Hurricane Hunters have been flying in the storm all morning and have found continued, rapid strengthening.
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) is forecasting Laura to continue rapid intensification (RI) Wednesday, saying it will be a very destructive Category 3 or 4 hurricane at landfall in the U.S. Gulf Coast tonight.
Impacts and hazards from the storm will be widespread - not just where the center of the storm makes landfall.More news: With Over 67K New Cases, India's COVID-19 Tally Crosses 32 Lakh
The US National Hurricane Centre called for measures to protect life and property to be accelerated, warning of "potentially catastrophic damage" from the storm.
A storm surge warning is in effect from Freeport, Texas, to the mouth of the Mississippi River. A "life-threatening storm surge with large and unsafe waves is expected to produce potentially catastrophic damage from San Luis Pass, Texas, to the mouth of the Mississippi River".
This is a risky and potentially life-threatening situation along the northern Gulf Coast, so if you have friends or family in these areas, make sure they are heeding all local and state advisories ahead of this system.
Raw video: NOAA plane records time-lapse footage as it flies through Hurricane Laura over the Gulf of Mexico. It was about 280 miles (450 kilometers) out from Lake Charles, Louisiana, moving northwest at 15 mph (24 kph). "Homes and businesses will be damaged", said Donald Jones, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Lake Charles, Louisiana, which is near the bullseye of Laura's forecast track. "If you decide to stay, you're staying on your own", Port Arthur Mayor Thurman Bartie said. They also urged storm preparations to be rushed Wednesday as the waters will begin rising later in the day. Buses were stocked with protective equipment and disinfectant, and they would carry fewer passengers to keep people apart, Texas officials said.More news: Canucks cruise to win over Vegas, even series 1-1
Laura is a big hurricane. However, it is supposed to weaken somewhat when it does come onshore, but is still expected to remain a major Category 3 hurricane as it does so.
Whitney Frazier, 29, of Beaumont spent Tuesday morning trying to get transportation to a high school where she could board a bus to leave the area.
Mandatory evacuation orders have been put in place along the Texas coast. People planning to enter shelters were told to bring just one bag of personal belongings each, and a mask to reduce the spread of coronavirus. "It's kind of hard to do social distancing".
This is the first major hurricane to make landfall this year in the U.S. Consumers are unlikely to see big price hikes however, because the pandemic has decimated demand for fuel. "Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months".More news: Last week, there were 65 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Winneshiek County
Laura already killed two dozen people in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.