Hurricane Laura made landfall on U.S. soil overnight, and video of the storm's extreme winds and rain pounding Louisiana has emerged online. The hurricane had been moving toward the U.S. from the Gulf for several days and continued to gain strength. It was initially classified as a Category 3 storm but eventually became a Category 4, just narrowly missing the high wind speeds necessary to be considered a Category 5.
Photos and videos shared on social media show the power that Laura brought to the Gulf cities and the devastating conditions that those areas were subject to. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards spoke in a press conference on Thursday morning, saying, "I will tell you that the damage is extensive." He explained that the storm has continued to cause terrible conditions that have kept emergency responders from getting help to anyone trapped in flooding or areas of great debris. "We have an immediate need that we need to take care of but we don't want to do it in a reckless way that causes more cases of Covid to impact our state."
Paul Heard rode out Hurricane Laura in his car in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
“There’s destruction out here everywhere. Trees are twisted from high winds or tornadoes. There’s a lot of damage. People are going to need a lot of help down here,” he says. https://t.co/yc7kwXqSSs pic.twitter.com/D6iEPucBmO— New Day (@NewDay) August 27, 2020
Over in Texas, a post on the Jefferson County Office of Emergency Management page has revealed significant power outages. "There are several areas throughout our region who have no power at this time. Electrical crews need first priority," the post reads, per CNN. "It is dangerous to drive on the roadways that have not been cleared. Downed power lines with live wires, downed trees and other random debris could cause you to get injured."
“This is our second hurricane during Covid-19.” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says Hurricane Hanna helped the state prepare for Hurricane Laura. “We learned in that time new strategies to use in evacuations,” like sheltering families in hotels and not convention centers. pic.twitter.com/csCvntfxYc— New Day (@NewDay) August 27, 2020
There was concern that the city of Galveston, Texas, could be in danger of serious destruction from Laura, but when the morning came it was discovered that the town suffered little to no damage. "We're feeling very fortunate this morning," city leadership said in a statement. "While we feel thankful and lucky this morning, our thoughts are with our neighbors along the upper Texas Coast and Louisiana. The City has reached out to our various partners to see how we may be able to provide help to those affected by Hurricane Laura."