Heavy winds and rains battered Louisiana on Thursday, August 24 morning, as a debilitating Hurricane Laura thundered toward the North. It seemed to be threatening to spread further damage and chaos well inland after harming the Lake Charles region. There were reports of at least four casualties on the same day.
Weather experts had already gauged the fact that the Hurricane Laura will create terrific ruckus right when it made landfall. The same happened very early on Thursday, August 24, in Cameron. The eye of the hurricane was 45 miles southwards from the Lake Charles.
According to weather reports, Hurricane Laura falls under Category 4 disasters, which highlights massive damage. The cyclone brought along a tornado threat, and 150 mph sustained winds. However, the situation is better now after Laura weakened into a tropical storm.
An early morning tweet from John Bel Edwards, Governor of Louisiana, was nothing short of a warning and wake up call. It was on the morning of August 24 that Edwards requested people to stay back at home. He reminded everyone that the threat of Hurricane Laura on Louisiana was still lingering. Therefore, everyone must listen to the safety instructions and warnings of local authorities. Besides, the local news channels were also covering the state’s current situation to let people understand the scenario.
Louisiana reports deaths due to Hurricane Laura
According to the Governor’s casualty reports, the first case was of a 14-year old girl who got perished under the roof of her own house after a tree fell. Christina Stephens, Staff Deputy Chief of the Governor, tweeted that there was a possibility of more cases that were yet to be detected. As per sources, the girl found dead was a resident of Leesville Town, Vernon Parish. Stephens also mentioned how the storm was not confined to the coast like how a hurricane should be. It turned into a Tornado threat because it has already come ashore and spreading damage through Louisiana’s entire state.
.@LouisianaGov says he got the report of the first fatality from Hurricane Laura in Louisiana. A 14 year old girl who died when a tree fell on her home. We do expect that there could be more fatalities.
— Christina “MASK UP” Stephens (@CEStephens) August 27, 2020
In the afternoon on the same day, Governor Edwards announced reports of at least three more casualties. The reason was the same; falling trees due to the storm, which makes it to a total of four fatality cases. He requested everyone to pray for the departed souls, and pay heed to the constant warnings.
As the wind became stronger and reached 133 mph, sustained winds of 85 mph followed. The reports were taken as per the area around Lake Charles.
On the other hand, weather experts recorded the wind force of 127 mph around the Calcasieu Pass. The sustained wind speed in this area touched a peak of 93 mph around 5 am (Cameron local time) on August 24.
Lake Charles seems to be the worst hit by Hurricane Laura, and the situation is positively devastating. The panes from skyscrapers blew away, and roads now line with broken roofing material and sheet metal. Further, a photograph clicked from the Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal highlights the Lake Charles area’s damage.
Here is a look at pre and post #HurricaneLaura views from our Lake Charles office staff (who are all safe this morning).
*top photos taken 5:30p 8/26, bottom photos taken 7a 8/27* pic.twitter.com/5raNI6Z1VD
— Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal (@LAFIREMARSHAL) August 27, 2020
Severe devastation across Louisiana
According to Stephen Jones, a famous storm chaser said that the Hurricane Laura had damaged Lake Charles in a similar way in which it had hit the Gulf of Mexico. Further, in the interview with “Fox & Friends First,” Jones said that the entire city was severely devastated. Other storm chasers also took to their social media accounts to report about skyscrapers and buildings became roofless. Moreover, the local media reported a few injuries in the area as well. Unfortunately, there are still undetected cases of injuries and casualties around the area too.
The emergency team dealing with the Hurricane Laura damage had to pass over the city following another problematic issue. Reports of a significant chemical fire from a Lake Charles factory sent a massive plume over Interstate 10. As per reports from the State Police of Louisiana, front-line firefighters are trying to control the fire. Besides, they are also working on the Bio Lab in Westlake, which was the chlorine leak source.
Biolab’s Lake Charles plant founded in 1979 and made trichloroisocyanuric acid. Therefore, the chemical usage includes chlorinating granules, and different synthetics used to make domestic cleaning agents such as Comet dye scrub, pool chlorine powder, as per the Associated Press. At the same time, the authorities had requested families living in the coastal region to evacuate. However, not everyone could make it out of their homes. Unfortunately, there were not enough people in the police team who could reach out to those calling them up for help. The Lake Charles area residents reported that several buildings were severely damaged after the storm’s eye passed over them.
— Brad Sowder (@TheBradSowder) August 27, 2020
Relief operations are yet to start in the coastal areas
According to local officials, residents of Cameron Parish refused to evacuate the area. They tried to survive the storm even after prominent warnings that the ocean could have covered the site. Weather experts and local authorities had already mentioned that the damage would be irreparable if the unfortunate takes place. Moreover, the workers are saying that they can only begin work when situations are favorable. According to Billy Nungesser, Louisiana Lt. Governor, everyone must pray for the coastal residents. There is little chance that anyone so close to the disaster would survive the same. In both Louisiana and Texas, more than 600,000 electricity consumers are now out of power.
Hours after the Hurricane Laura subsided, the emergency director of Calcasieu Parish Dick Gremillion and his team set out to resure. However, the conditions were so bad that they couldn’t do any damage control. Besides, the danger of the hurricane still rages as it shifts towards the North. Experts are assessing heavy rainfall, stronger winds, and floods too. The mid-Mississippi, as well as the Tennessee valleys along with the central Appalachians, were still in the danger zone. There may be 2-4 inches of rainfall in all of these areas. The maximum may hit 6-inches too. Moreover, the storm may even last till the weekend.