Aug. 27 (UPI) — Hurricane Laura made landfall early Thursday along the U.S. Gulf Coast, cutting power to hundreds of thousands and causing significant damage.
Laura arrived on the Louisiana coast as a Category 4 storm. The National Hurricane Center had warned of a potentially catastrophic impact and “unsurvivable” storm surge created by the hurricane.
Laura produced winds of 150 mph when it arrived over Cameron, La. In Lake Charles, which was in Laura’s direct path, there were reports of damage and debris in the downtown area — but no flooding, which had been a major concern for the area, which is just 15 feet above sea level.
When Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana in 2005, it caused widespread catastrophic flooding due to the state’s low elevation.
A video shot by storm chaser Reed Timmer showed a powerful winds battering the Lake Charles Convention Center as Laura moved through the city in the pre-dawn hours.
One user posted a tweet early Thursday that showed high winds destroying a Wendy’s restaurant sign.
PowerOutage.us showed nearly a half-million customers in both Louisiana and Texas were without electricity Thursday morning.
“Power is out pretty much everywhere,” Calcasieu Parish spokesman Thomas Hoefer said. “We may get water in but it’s not here now. Cameron is dealing with the surge; we are dealing with the wind.”
City and state leaders had warned before Laura’s arrival that it could take several days to restore power to the affected areas, particularly with added precautions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Laura weakened to a Category 2 storm almost immediately after moving over land, but was still packing winds of 120 mph.