CNN, By Jason Hanna: Hurricane Laura’s ferocious winds produced more damage than its storm surge as it pummeled portions of Louisiana. The storm left six people dead in Louisiana, including at least four from falling trees.
Laura came ashore as a Category 4 storm early Thursday near the Texas state line, tearing off roofs while knocking out power to hundreds of thousands.
Laura, later downgraded to a tropical storm, was about 35 miles south of Little Rock, Arkansas, with sustained winds of 40 mph as of 7 p.m. CT Thursday. But it made landfall around 1 a.m. with sustained winds of 150 mph, devastating southern Louisiana communities for miles.
While there were widespread reports of wind damage, some communities were also beset by storm surge. US Coast Guard aerial video showed flooding in Cameron along the coast.
“There’s a lot of damage. People are going to need a lot of help around here,” Paul Heard, who survived the ordeal in Lake Charles, told CNN.
Heard left his house just as the storm was pulling part of the roof off around 1 a.m., taking shelter in his car, he said. As he watched from 25 feet away, he “could see my roof was heaving up and down several inches.”
A Lake Charles street is strewn with debris and downed power lines Thursday after Laura passed through.
Wind gusts of more than 120 mph raked that area intermittently for an hour overnight, CNN meteorologists say.
“It appears now we have more structural damage from the wind” than from storm surge, Gov. John Bel Edwards said.
Communities including Lake Charles, some 35 miles from the coast, are littered with debris. Across the city, roofs and walls are damaged, trees are snapped, twisted and broken; steel poles and lampposts are bent; street signs are torn from the ground.
Laura knocked out much of the water service in Lake Charles. “We’ve got some plants that are open, but it’s not enough to serve the entire city. The pressure is in the single digits,” said City Administrator John Cardone.
An aerial view of a neighborhood outside Lake Charles.
More than 843,000 customers in Texas and Louisiana were without power Thursday evening, according to PowerOutages.us.
“We have sustained a tremendous amount of damage,” Edwards said, though it wasn’t “the absolute catastrophic damage that we thought was likely.”
“The restraining Spirit of God is even now being withdrawn from the world. Hurricanes, storms, tempests, fire and flood, disasters by sea and land, follow each other in quick succession. Science seeks to explain all these. The signs thickening around us, telling of the near approach of the Son of God, are attributed to any other than the true cause. Men cannot discern the sentinel angels restraining the four winds that they shall not blow until the servants of God are sealed; but when God shall bid His angels loose the winds, there will be such a scene of strife as no pen can picture.” Testimonies to the Church, Vol. 6, page 408.1.