Hurricane Laura’s flooding and other impacts on the ground: What we know

Hurricane Laura, now a Category 1 storm, made landfall early Thursday morning in Cameron, Louisiana — just 35 miles east of the Texas-Louisiana border — as a Category 4 storm with 150 mph winds.

Already, pictures and videos of the storm from Lake Charles, Louisiana, a town about 50 miles north of Cameron, show torn-off roofs, downed power lines, blown-out windows, and dozens of trees ripped from the ground.

This morning, a spokesperson for Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said he’d received a report of the first American fatality from Hurricane Laura, a 14-year-old girl from Vernon Parish, who died when a tree fell on her home. When it was still a tropical storm, Laura was also responsible for at least 23 deaths in Haiti and the Dominican Republic earlier this week.

Other than that, there has been no official word of injuries or deaths since the storm made landfall. What we know is that about 20 million people reside in the path of the storm and 500,000 have been ordered to evacuate, a task complicated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

A hall with clusters of black chairs about 6 feet apart, is full of people — largely Black people — in their summer wear, masked and sitting with their bags.
People wait for evacuation in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images