Currents News Staff
Under the cover of darkness, Hurricane Laura stormed central Louisiana with heavy rain and wind gusts over 120 miles per hou — for more than an hour — in Lake Charles.
The storm damaged buildings and sent debris flying.
In the daylight, the destruction could be seen widespread. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards says the damage was extensive.
“We have hurricane strength winds still associated with this storm as it moves north and still causing damage, power outage and so forth,” said Gov. Edwards. “I will tell you that the damage is extensive.”
Laura hit the area as a Category 4 storm. Mandatory evacuations were in place for central Louisiana residents, but that didn’t stop some from riding out the storm. Louisiana’s Lieutenant Gov. Billy Nungesser says he hopes no lives were lost.
“One family I talked to at 3:30, 50 miles from the coast, as they felt their roof being lifted up, said they’ll never ride out another storm,” Gov. Nungesser said, “and hopefully they’re safe as well. So we know some people stayed and we hope no one lost their life.”
FEMA says it will quickly get on the ground to start assessing damage. In the meantime, they have a message for residents.
“Keep your family safe,” said FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor. “If you’re in a safe place, don’t go outside until you hear the all-clear from your local officials. Stay out of the water. Stay away from downed power lines. This is going to be a dangerous part of the storm, even after it passes.”
Hurricane Laura will continue to weaken as it moves inland, but will be a flood threat through the weekend before exiting the east coast.