MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF/AP) – Laura has been downgraded to a tropical storm as it continues to impact the Gulf.
According to the 12 p.m. Thursday update from the National Hurricane Center, damaging winds and flooding rainfall are spreading inland over the northern portions of Louisiana, while high water levels persist along portions of the coast.
Laura made landfall near Cameron, La. in the early-morning hours Thursday as a Category 4 storm, with 150 mph winds.
The National Hurricane Center tweeted Wednesday that “unsurvivable” storm surge will cause catastrophic damage from Sea Rim State Park, Texas, to Intracoastal City, La.
In the largest U.S. evacuation during this pandemic era, more than half a million people were ordered to flee from their homes near the Texas-Louisiana state line, including the Texas cities of Beaumont, Galveston and Port Arthur, and the low-lying Calcasieu and Cameron parishes in southwestern Louisiana, according to the Associated Press.
Officials told KPLC, our sister station in Lake Charles, that at least 150 people refused to leave and planned to weather the monster storm.
“It’s a very sad situation,” said Ashley Buller, assistant director of emergency preparedness. “We did everything we could to encourage them to leave.”
The storm has been blamed for at least two deaths as of Thursday afternoon. It also led to a chlorine leak at a chemical plant in Lake Charles, La.
Check out the WMBF Hurricane Center to know what to do before, during and after a storm.