Weakened Hurricane Laura still carries a threat of tornadoes as it heads toward Atlantic Ocean

The remnants of Hurricane Laura continued to weaken Saturday as it moved toward the mid-Atlantic states, but it still carried a threat of tornadoes and heavy rain along the coast before exiting into the Atlantic Ocean.

Over the open water, forecasters said, Laura could once again become a tropical storm and threaten Newfoundland, Canada.

The National Hurricane Service, in its final advisory on the storm, said Laura had weakened to a Post-Tropical Cyclone by Saturday morning, but it still had some punch left.

The forecasters said the storm was producing sustained winds at 25 mph through Kentucky and West Virginia and could increase as Laura neared the mid-Atlantic coast. The hurricane center also warned of possible tornadoes Saturday afternoon and evening from North Carolina to the Delaware-Maryland-Virginia region.

As the storm moves east, it’ll meet up with a cold front, which could bring moderate to heavy rainfall, strong to severe thunderstorms and gusty winds across parts of central Appalachia to the mid-Atlantic states, the National Weather Service said.

The U.S. toll from the Category 4 hurricane stood at 14 deaths, with more than half of those killed by carbon monoxide poisoning from the unsafe operation of generators.

Laura did not produce the level of destructive storm surge along the Gulf Coast as forecast when it roared ashore early Thursday as a Category 4 hurricane.

The massive storm, packing 150 mph when it made landfall, destroyed numerous homes and businesses in Louisiana, particularly around Lake Charles, and parts of Texas, as it barreled northward.

The Louisiana Department of Health reported that more than 220,000 people were without water and might not get service restored for weeks or months.

Forty nursing homes were relying on generators, and assessments were underway to determine if more than 860 residents in 11 facilities that had been evacuated could return.

An early analysis by Accuweather predicts the total damage and economic loss caused by Laura to be $25 to $30 million. Chuck Watson, a disaster modeler with Enki Research, estimated it to be $20 billion to $25 billion.

On Friday, President Donald Trump issued a major disaster declaration for Louisiana. The disaster declaration will unlock federal resources and recovery aid.

He planned to tour the damage in both states on Saturday and is scheduled to arrive around noon in Lake Charles, Louisiana, the hardest hit major city in the state.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards called Laura the most powerful hurricane to strike Louisiana, meaning it surpassed even Katrina, which was a Category 3 storm when it hit in 2005.

The hurricane also killed nearly two dozen people in Haiti and the Dominican Republic en route to the Gulf Coast.

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