In Lake Charles, LA. Hurricane Laura carved a deadly, devasting path north from the Louisiana coast on Thursday, destroying some houses and business while sparing others, killing at least four residents.
The storm had rapidly intensified before it made landfall early on Thursday as a category four storm, becoming the most powerful hurricane to strike the Gulf Coast in decades. The storm came around one in the morning near Cameron, LA about thirty-five miles east of the Texas border, and storm Laura was also going at one hundred fifty miles per hour with the wind peaking.
As Laura weakened Thursday morning, it still unleashed hurricane-force winds as far as central Louisiana, hitting vulnerable communities before being confirmed to a tropical storm in the afternoon.
Downtown Lake Charles, LA took one of the heaviest hits from Laura’s brutal winds, which shredded trees, pulled off roofs, and tossed lampposts into the streets. An industrial plant nearby makes chlorine-based products caught fire, sending caustic smoke throughout the area. “It was a very, very bad windstorm,” said Tom Hoefer, communications director for Calcasieu Parish’s emergency management office.
Laura blew out windows in one of the only high raises in Lake Charles, a city of 78,000 and power lines lay on the ground and streets remained impassable because of debris and flooding. In Toomey, LA, about 25 miles west of Lake, Charles industrial buildings lay in ruin. The westbound side of interstate 10 was largely blocked by fallen trees. Also, Mobile homes were heavily damaged or destroyed.
The source from Washington Post says that “Edwards reported Louisiana’s first fatality — a 14-year-old girl, who died when a tree fell on her home in Leesville.” Edwards warned that more fatalities could surface during search and rescue efforts, which were continuing along the coast, as well as communities farther north. The community nearest to where Laura’s eyewall hit the coast and a repeat of the hurricane victim’s in Louisiana’s low-lying wetlands had remained almost inaccessible till late Thursday.