Hurricane Laura made history as it picked up steam across the Gulf of Mexico. Starting as a simple tropical depression, by the time it was covering the Gulf on Wednesday, it had become a Category 4 hurricane.
At landfall, the storm was carrying a massive storm surge behind it. It impacted Cameron Parish in Louisiana around 1:00 AM Thursday morning.
Upon making landfall, the storm killed at least three people. Those deaths were confirmed Thursday morning as being caused by falling trees from the storm’s strong wind. Numerous shops, homes, and vehicles were swept away in the parish by the huge storm surge.
The Damage is Immense
The damage caused by the storm’s landfall was immense, according to preliminary reports. At the time of this writing, it is unclear how much damage, exactly, was inflicted on the coastal regions of the Gulf.
Roads are blocked by fallen trees, washed-up debris and rushing water throughout coastal Louisiana and Texas. This has made it difficult for officials to get a tally of what was destroyed.
Likewise, the death toll may rise as officials return to areas near the coast. Several people in Cameron Parish and beyond chose to ride out the storm in spite of official evacuation notices. While this was their choice, it was highly inadvisable. Meteorologists predicted that Laura’s storm surge would be “unsurvivable” for people on the coast.
2020 Has Unprecedented Hurricane Season
The number, and intensity, of hurricanes has been off-the-charts in 2020. This hurricane season has seen more storms, more frequently, and with higher overall power than many previous years.
The closest comparison is 2005, when storms like Rita and Katrina battered the Gulf Coast. In fact, many people in Louisiana have reported that the damage from Laura looks like it’s worse, so far, than Rita’s.
When Laura made landfall, it was sporting 150 MPH winds. That windspeed allowed the storm to pick up large debris and shatter windows all throughout the coastal region. As it moved further inland, the lack of warm ocean water under it caused the storm to weaken.
At the time of this writing, the storm is just below Category 1 wind speeds and is rotating somewhere over Arkansas.
There is never a good time to deal with a hurricane. However, in the middle of an unprecedented public health crisis with COVID-19, things are even more dire for many along the coast. An already trying year continues to batter weary American communities.