Hurricane Laura Slams into Gulf Coast with 150 MPH Winds

By Paul Riegler on 27 August 2020
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Saint Louis Cathedral at Jackson Square in New Orleans

Hurricane Laura swept ashore early Thursday as a Category 4 storm, pounding the Texas and Louisiana coasts with 150 mph (241 km/h) winds. One death has so far been reported.

The storm made landfall at 1 a.m. local time near Cameron, Louisiana., about 35 miles (56 kilometers) east of the Texas border.  It was one of the strongest storms to ever hit the United States and it tied for the strongest to ever hit Louisiana.

The Lake Charles area of Louisiana was pounded as punishing rains and heavy winds swept through the region.  The National Hurricane Center said that the city’s airport reported gusts of 132 mph (212 km/h) at 3 a.m. local time and gusts of 120 mph (193 km/h) for the prior hour.

“Anybody watching in these areas along the Louisiana coast, I mean, it is too dangerous to be outside,” the director of the National Hurricane Center, Ken Graham, in a video posted to Twitter late Wednesday. “I hope you’re not there. I hope you evacuated.”

The storm peeled off roofs, destroyed buildings, and tossed lampposts into the street. Gusts blew out windows in high-rise office buildings and ripped the top off a sky bridge.

Several hundred evacuees from Lake Charles were brought to New Orleans on buses to flee the storm.

The Vermilion Parish Sheriff’s Office issued a warning for those staying in path of Hurricane Laura: “Write your name…put it in a Ziploc bag in your pocket.” One mayor said, “Know that it’s just you and God.”

The storm was downgraded as it moved inland, continuing in a northerly direction with sustained winds of 75 mph (120 km/h).   It is expected to diminish to a tropical storm in the next few hours.

Texas officials said that the state suffered less destruction than they had originally feared.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott said in an interview on CNN mid-morning that the state had not yet had any reports of fatalities from the storm, something he attributed to the state’s residents having heeded warnings to evacuate early.

“The storm surge and the powerful winds could have led to catastrophic deaths,” the governor said. “We no doubt saved lives because of those evacuations.”

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

Accura News

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