- Hurricane Laura touched down as a Category 4 storm and lashed Louisiana and Texas early Thursday.
- In the lead-up to Laura’s arrival on the US Gulf Coast, the National Hurricane Centre forecast “unsurvivable storm surge,” “destructive waves,” and “catastrophic damage.”
- Photos and videos that emerged on Thursday showed widespread destruction.
- Laura uprooted power lines and trees, blew roofs and windows off hotels and buildings, destroyed homes, and left cars bobbing in water-logged streets. It killed four people in Louisiana.
- Follow our latest updates on the storm here.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Hurricane Laura made landfall near Cameron, Louisiana, as a Category 4 storm early Thursday.
It battered the coasts of Louisiana and Texas with 150 mph winds and massive storm surges, with the National Hurricane Centre tweeting just after 1 a.m. CT that “potentially catastrophic impacts will continue.”
Laura weakened while moving inland, but the weather service continued issuing warnings about heavy rain, flooding, tornadoes, “damaging winds,” and “life-threatening storm surges.” It has since been downgraded to a tropical storm, the NHC said.
People braved the storm overnight to take photographs of the devastation Laura was causing: mangled telecommunications towers, an RV being buffeted by strong winds, and windows of a hotel giving way.
— Stephen Jones (@Tornado_Steejo) August 27, 2020
— WXChasing (Brandon Clement) (@bclemms) August 27, 2020
????: Kyle R. pic.twitter.com/yR1qHtM6aE
— Anaridis Rodriguez (@Anaridis) August 27, 2020
— Jordan Steele (@JordanSteele) August 27, 2020
As the sun rose, others emerged from their houses to take stock of the wreckage Laura had left in its wake.
Footage on social media showed houses and cars submerged underwater; hotels and other buildings – including the Capital One Tower in Lake Charles, Louisiana – were missing roofs and windows; and signs had toppled over at debris-ridden gas stations.
— Chief Keith Monahan, CBM (@ChiefKeith) August 27, 2020
— WeatherGoingWILD (@WeatherGoinWILD) August 27, 2020
— Chief Keith Monahan, CBM (@ChiefKeith) August 27, 2020
— Tom Miller (@TomMillerKXAN) August 27, 2020
A video clip showed what looked like a train that had lurched off railway tracks and toppled over on its side amid the powerful storm.
Hurricane Laura ripped through overnight! City damage shots from Lake Charles, LA#BREAKING #Louisiana #HurricanLaura #hurricane #hurrican #HurricaneSeason #Laura #Stormlaura #laurahurricane #HurricanLaura #louisianastrong #hurricainelaura #LakeCharles #HurricaneLaura2020 pic.twitter.com/a4XSilCwZG
— ᕼᑎᔕᗩᗰOᑎᗩ (@hnsamona) August 27, 2020
Elsewhere, homes had been gutted by high winds and heavy rainfull, leaving their insides strewn on footpaths or across flooded neighbourhoods.
The monster storm flattened structures, leaving them unrecognizable.
Trees were uprooted and billboards were shredded. Fallen trees killed four people in Louisiana, Gov. John Bel Edwards said on Thursday afternoon, according to The New York Times. Local reports indicated that he is concerned the death toll will rise as search and rescue teams are able to access more parts of the state.
Downed powerlines created a safety hazard while hundreds of thousands were left in the dark.
Laura caused a mess and was scary but I’m OK. A cypress tree fell on my corner and knocked down the lines – so no power here since 3 am. Glad to be safe with little damage. #HurricaneLaura2020 pic.twitter.com/Bb1N5di6Vg
— Casey Ardoin (@Casey_Ardoin) August 27, 2020
The rain and storm surge left streets water-logged.
The force of the storm also upended boats and sparked a chemical plant fire in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
BREAKING: Large chemical fire & leak in Lake Charles, Louisiana amid the aftermath of #HurricaneLaura2020. Emergency services say they are not able to get to the scene at this time. pic.twitter.com/unvubixY0s
— Cicada News (@cicada_news) August 27, 2020
More than half a million people were evacuated as officials in Texas and Louisiana raced to prepare for Laura.
A sheriff’s office in Vermilion Parish, in Lousiana, had a macabre message for people who didn’t leave the area: “If you choose to stay and we can’t get to you, write your name, address, social security number and next of kin and put it a zip-lock bag in your pocket. Praying that it does not come to this!”
People stranded in Lake Charles sought help on Thursday after Laura walloped the area, but authorities couldn’t reach many of them due to blocked streets and flooding, the Associated Press reported.
WARNING: The water is full of toxic chemicals, life threatening debris, & dangerous animals—including alligators.
????????Please stay out of the water????????
— Arctic Friend (@FriendEden100) August 27, 2020
A reporter travelling to Port Arthur, Texas, filmed long lines of ambulances and first responders rushing to different places where people needed help.
Here’s a better shot of the line of first responders. It has to be 100 or more, we can’t even see the beginning of the line. Truly remarkable and always thank you, thank you, thank you to our first responders. In awe right now. #abc13 #HurricaneLaura2020 @abc13houston pic.twitter.com/OExEygBejY
— Roxie Bustamante (@RoxieAbc13) August 27, 2020
Laura’s forceful winds even managed to knock over a Confederate “Defender’s Monument” in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
— Lindsie (@Lindsie_Rose) August 27, 2020
- Read more:
- Hurricane Laura made landfall as a Category 4 storm Thursday morning. Here are the 18 strongest Atlantic hurricanes in history.
- Hurricane Laura jumped from Category 1 to Category 4 in a day. Here’s why hurricanes are now stronger, wetter, and more frequent.
- Louisiana residents who did not evacuate ahead of Hurricane Laura are calling for help, but authorities can’t get to them
- A sheriff’s department in the path of Hurricane Laura told residents that if they don’t evacuate the best they can do is ID them after they die