Louisiana—At least six people were killed and hundreds of thousands left without power as Hurricane Laura struck with winds of up to 150mph (240km/h) over the last two days.
In spite of mandatory evacuation orders, dozens of Louisiana families didn’t evacuate Hurricane Laura, but most appear to have survived.
At least six people have been killed as Hurricane Laura battered the US state of Louisiana.
Winds of up to 150mph (240km/h) caused severe damage, with power cuts to more than half a million homes and a chemical fire from an industrial plant.
But the feared 20ft (6m) storm surge was avoided as the hurricane, the state’s biggest, tracked further east.
Laura has now been downgraded to tropical storm status.
It has since crossed into Arkansas. At 19:00 local time (00:00 GMT) on Thursday the National Hurricane Center said the storm had weakened to maximum sustained winds of 40mph (65km/h), but was still bringing heavy rainfall.
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said the state “did not sustain and suffer the absolute, catastrophic damage that we thought was likely,” but stressed they had still suffered “a tremendous amount of damage” and warned people to remain vigilant.
The wind damage was worse than expected, but the water damage was less than expected.
Nearly 900,000 homes and businesses lost power as the storm hit the US.
There was more structural damage from winds than anticipated, but the water damage was less than feared.
Lake Charles, a city of 78,000, and its surrounding areas were badly hit. Trees and electricity pylons have been ripped from the ground and vehicles overturned.
Part of the roof of the Golden Nugget Casino flew off, a CNN-affiliated reporter witnessed, and an NWS radar installation was destroyed.
A barge had collided with a bridge in the city of Lake Charles, quite close to where a suspected “chlorine chemical fire” at an industrial plant was being attended by emergency services.
In a disaster which was expected to assume Biblical proportions one Twitter user claimed that the Mississippi River had been caused to flow backwards.
Chris Dier posted on Twitter a video of the unique occurrence, which happened around 4 p.m. Wednesday in Arabi, a suburb of New Orleans.
“Hurricane Laura is forcing the Mississippi to follow north instead of south,” he wrote. “Barges are now having to fight these tides as they go downriver. Surreal.”
Texas reported zero deaths.
Governor Greg Abbott today traveled to Southeast Texas to survey the damage from Hurricane Laura and meet with local officials. He urged Texans to remain vigilant against flash flooding, and potential river flooding.
“While we are grateful that the damage of Hurricane Laura was far less severe than expected, many communities in Southeast Texas have experienced significant damage from this storm — and the State of Texas is already initiating recovery efforts and ensuring these communities have the support they need to rebuild,” said Governor Abbott.
In a Tweet Governor John Bel Edwards of Lousiana said: “numerous roads remain obstructed this evening with downed trees, power lines, debris so please travel cautiously & watch for crews & equipment. Clean-up perations will continue Friday.