Hurricane Laura brought ‘catastrophic storm surge’ to Louisiana

Published on : 27/08/2020 – 00:46

Laura, a Category 4 hurricane, made landfall in the United States Wednesday through Thursday off the coast of Louisiana. Accompanied by a “catastrophic storm surge” with strong winds, it caused “flashing floods”. South Texas residents are also preparing for his arrival.

Hurricane Laura reached the Louisiana coast on Thursday, August 27, after strengthening to category 4 on a scale of 5, the American weather services announced.

“The extremely dangerous Category 4 Hurricane Laura made landfall near Cameron, Louisiana [avec des vents soufflant jusqu’à 240 kilomètres par heure]”, said the National Hurricane Center (NHC), in its last report released at 1 a.m. (6 a.m. GMT).

The American center, based in Florida, mentions a “catastrophic storm surge”, “extreme winds” and “flash flooding occurring in certain areas of Louisiana”, as the hurricane passed.

Warning of “destructive waves that will cause catastrophic damage”, the NHC issued a new warning: “Seek shelter now! Treat these impending extreme winds as if a tornado were approaching. and move immediately to the safe room of your shelter”.

Fifteen years after Katrina devastated the city of New Orleans, Laura could be one of the thirteen strongest storms to hit the United States, according to meteorologists.

Residents of Louisiana and southern Texas began preparing for the hurricane on Wednesday, which is expected to weaken as it moves inland.

“Hurricane Laura is very dangerous and rapidly escalating. Listen to local officials. We are with you!” President Donald Trump tweeted on Wednesday.

Vice President Mike Pence, speaking at the Republican convention, urged those involved to “heed state and local authorities.” “My prayers are with you tonight. Our government is working closely with authorities in the states that will be affected,” he added.

The National Guard announced that it had mobilized more than a thousand members in Texas to help meet the needs, including twenty aircraft and more than fifteen teams tasked with organizing shelters.

The memory of Katrina

The eye of the hurricane was at 2 a.m. GMT 145 km south of the coastal town of Lake Charles, Louisiana, known for its major oil refining centers. Its inhabitants boarded buses after receiving a mandatory evacuation order due to the risk of flooding.

“You only have a few hours to prepare and evacuate,” Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards tweeted Wednesday. His state remains traumatized by Katrina, a category 5 hurricane, the highest, which flooded 80% of the city of New Orleans and killed a thousand people, fifteen years ago almost to the day.

In the French Old Square, the historic center of New Orleans emptied of its tourists, sandbags were piled up in front of doorsteps, and the windows of colonial architecture buildings were protected by plywood panels.

25 depressions expected this season

In the neighboring state of Texas, already struggling with the Covid-19 pandemic, the governor urged residents to take shelter. “Your possessions can be replaced, not your life,” he warned the Weather Channel.

In Galveston, the site in 1900 of a historic hurricane that killed between 8,000 and 12,000 people, evacuation operations for residents were intensifying and the school district canceled classes until Friday.

The nearby town of Crystal Beach seemed deserted: few cars on the roads, the few inhabitants still outside hurrying to get a last fill-up of gas or board up their windows.

The Atlantic hurricane season, which officially lasts from 1is June to November 30, promises to be particularly intense this year. The National Hurricane Center expects 25 depressions. Laura is already the twelfth.

With AFP

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