Hurricane Laura live coverage: After historic storm makes landfall in Louisiana, forecasters warn of 'catastrophic storm surge'

Written by on August 27, 2020

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As winds from Hurricane Laura enhance in southeast Texas, Greg Becker takes wind measurements in Port Arthur. USA TODAY

PORT ARTHUR, Texas — Hurricane Laura roared ashore on the border of Texas and Louisiana as a Class four storm early Thursday, ripping aside buildings, severing energy traces and clogging streets with particles as a harmful storm surge trailed behind. Tons of of 1000’s were without power.

With sustained winds of 150 mph, Laura’s eye made landfall close to Cameron, Louisiana, at about 2 a.m. ET earlier than plowing a path of destruction north towards Arkansas, the place the weakened storm was predicted to then curve east by Kentucky and Tennessee by Friday night. 

By 6 a.m. ET, sustained winds have been nonetheless 110 mph and the storm had dropped to a Class 2 hurricane, forecasters mentioned. Whereas Laura was anticipated to weaken quickly right into a tropical storm by this afternoon, forecasters continued to warn of flooding hazard.

“Catastrophic storm surge, excessive winds and flash flooding ongoing,” the Nationwide Climate Service mentioned in a four a.m. ET replace, with the worst of the storm surge anticipated to journey up the Calcasieu River space. “The eyewall of Laura will proceed to maneuver inland throughout southwestern Louisiana throughout the subsequent a number of hours.”

The newest developments:

  • Harm is anticipated from Sea Rim State Park, Texas, to Intracoastal Metropolis, Louisiana, together with Calcasieu and Sabine lakes.
  • Late Wednesday, the Nationwide Hurricane Middle warned tornadoes have been attainable in southeastern Louisiana and excessive southwestern Mississippi.
  • Interstate 10 eastbound on the Texas-Louisiana border and westbound west of the Atchafalaya Basin is closed.
  • The Cajun Navy Relief & Rescue, the legendary nonprofit flotilla of privately owned boats used to help flooding victims, was gearing up for rescues.

This file will probably be up to date all through the day. For updates in your inbox, subscribe to the Daily Briefing.

Texas, Louisiana affected by widespread energy outages

Close to-constant lightning was the one supply of sunshine for a lot of in a single day, as Laura knocked out energy to a whole bunch of 1000’s of individuals in Texas and Louisiana. In keeping with poweroutages.us, 335,000 prospects have been with out electrical energy in Louisiana. In Texas, greater than 81,000 outages have been reported. 

Stormchasers and meteorologists mentioned a full accounting of the harm would not come till daybreak. Dawn is at 7:47 a.m. ET in Lake Charles, and observers mentioned it appeared many roads have been blocked by particles. 

Energy outage tip:What a coin in a cup can tell you about food safety

Fierce rain kilos Port Arthur, Texas 

From Port Arthur east to Lake Charles, Louisiana, transformers exploded with showers of sparks, plunging neighborhoods into darkness as home windows shattered, and heavy rains lashed the realm because the 25-mile-wide eye moved north at about 15 mph. The Nationwide Climate Service mentioned correct rainfall totals weren’t but obtainable, and several other radar and transmitter websites appeared to have been broken by the storm.

In a single day, movies shared by stormchasers and reporters deployed throughout the realm confirmed parts of constructing roofs ripped off by the excessive winds, which additionally toppled a big RV in Lake Charles. All through the night time, forecasters warned those that had not evacuated to anticipate each tornado-force winds and tornadoes being spun off by the hurricane.

– USA TODAY’s Rick Jervis from Port Arthur, Texas

Class four storm makes landfall close to Cameron, Louisiana

Hurricane Laura made landfall simply earlier than 1 a.m. native time Thursday as a harmful Class four hurricane with winds of 150 mph.

The storm raced towards the Louisiana coast Wednesday, rapidly intensifying with excessive winds simply shy of a Class 5 storm.

This visualization shows Laura plowing by the Gulf of Mexico and over the Louisiana coast close to Cameron simply south of Lake Charles.

– Dinah Voyles Pulver, The (Lafayette, La.) Each day Advertiser

Largest evacuation operation in US amid coronavirus

Greater than half one million individuals have been ordered to evacuate Tuesday, the most important evacuation within the U.S. amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Emergency officers with Jefferson County, which incorporates Port Arthur, staged a lot of “hubs” to gather residents and transport them to different areas round Texas, moderately than shelter them there, mentioned Allison Getz, a county spokeswoman. A key purpose for doing it that method was considerations over the coronavirus pandemic, which makes it laborious to shelter giant teams of individuals in a single place, she mentioned. Solely 15 to 20 individuals have been being positioned on buses, as a substitute of the same old 50, she mentioned. 

– Rick Jervis

Monitoring Hurricane Laura🌀: Get the newest data on Laura’s path and forecast with USA TODAY’s storm tracker.

Hurricane Laura is first main hurricane of the 2020 season

As soon as Laura’s winds whipped as much as past 110 mph on Wednesday, it grew to become the primary “main” hurricane of the 2020 season.

The Atlantic hurricane season has been a record-breaker. Laura is the earliest L-named storm within the Atlantic Basin, breaking a file held by Luis, which fashioned Aug. 29, 1995. This season has had 13 named storms, which is effectively above-normal exercise. 

Forecasters knew this season would be particularly active. Earlier in August, the Nationwide Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration mentioned as much as 25 named storms might type in 2020. As much as 11 could possibly be hurricanes, NOAA forecasters mentioned. 

“That is one of the crucial lively seasonal forecasts that NOAA has produced in its 22-year historical past of hurricane outlooks,” mentioned U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross in an announcement. 

– Doyle Rice

Marco, Laura: What happens if we run out of names?

Examine from Could: World warming is making hurricanes stronger

Is local weather change in charge for the devastating results of hurricane winds? Perhaps.

A study published in May found human-caused global warming has strengthened the wind speeds of hurricanes, typhoons and cyclones across the globe. Scientists studied 40 years of satellite tv for pc photographs to succeed in their conclusions and located the probabilities of hurricanes turning into a Class three or greater have elevated every of the previous 4 many years.

“Our outcomes present that these storms have develop into stronger on world and regional ranges, which is in step with expectations of how hurricanes reply to a warming world,” mentioned examine lead writer James Kossin of the Nationwide Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 

– Doyle Rice

Contributing: The Related Press. Jervis reported from Port Arthur. 

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