Communities along the Gulf Coast experience the worst of Hurricane Laura, a weather system that has gone from a Category 1 storm to a Category 4 storm in just 15 hours.

The enormous size of the dangerous hurricane was captured in a series of dramatic images captured on Wednesday by American astronaut Chris Cassidy on board the International Space Station 250 miles above Earth.

Views of Hurricane Laura from @Space_Station captured today. Stay safe everyone.

– Chris Cassidy (@Astro_SEAL) August 26, 2020

Laura packs wind speeds of up to 200 km / h just before landing. The National Hurricane Center warns that the storm could cause "insurmountable" storm surges and overwhelm flood defenses from East Texas to Louisiana.

Officials in both states have issued evacuation orders for up to half a million residents. This process has been made difficult by concerns about the coronavirus.

For up-to-date information on the progress of the storm, it is recommended that you check local television and radio broadcasts. These apps and web services can also be helpful.

Space station vantage point

Far above all weather systems, but close enough to see them in detail, the space station provides an incredible vantage point for astronauts aboard the orbiting outpost. NASA's Chris Cassidy has captured dramatic images of recent storms affecting different parts of America. Several images of Hurricane Genevieve were released last week as the extreme weather system approached the Baja California peninsula.

A few years ago, British astronaut Tim Peake unveiled the camera kit that allows the space station crew to take their amazing images of the earth. It contains five Nikon D4 bodies as well as numerous lenses such as a Nikkor 14-24 mm, f2.8; Nikkor 28mm, f1.4; Sigma 50-500 mm, f4.5-6.3; Nikkor 400mm, f2.8; and Nikkor 800 mm, f5.6.

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