Hurricane Laura made landfall near Cameron, Louisiana early Thursday morning, packing sustained winds of 150 miles per hour and a raging storm surge that could peak at 20 feet.
The catastrophic storm has since been downgraded to a still-powerful Category 2 after already knocking out power to hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses along the Gulf Coast.
CBN’s Chuck Holton has been on the ground in Lake Charles, Louisiana riding out and reporting on the storm. You can see his reports via CBN’s YouTube Channel:
It’s now moving inland and bringing with it damaging winds, rain, and tornadoes. Many hours after it arrived, Laura still remained an intense Category 2 hurricane with sustained winds of 100 mph.
Early reports said Laura’s storm surge had already hit more than nine feet in some areas and it could go up to 40 miles inland. It could be the largest storm surge in the region since Hurricane Katrina.
Authorities had warned it could sink entire communities in Texas and Louisiana. Nearly 600,000 people in those states were given mandatory evacuation orders, though some chose to stay behind.
“If you think you’re safe because you made it through Rita in south Louisiana, understand that this storm is more powerful,” said Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards at a news conference.
“We know anyone that stayed that close to the coast, we’ve got to pray for them, because looking at the storm surge, there would be little chance of survival,” Louisiana Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser told ABC’s Good Morning America.
Thousands are now flocking to evacuation centers.
Meanwhile, Laura also poses a threat to a center of the US energy industry – 84 percent of Gulf oil production and around 61 percent of natural gas production have been shut down.
CBN’s Operation Blessing disaster relief teams are already at work. An assessment team has arrived in Louisiana while another delivered supplies in Grand Prairie, Texas.