LAKE CHARLES, La. — Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said state officials now know of four storm-related deaths caused by Hurricane Laura.
The deaths were all caused by trees falling on residences, Edwards said. None were on the coast, having happened in Vernon, Jackson and Acadia parishes. Jackson is in north Louisiana, demonstrating the power of the storm, which made landfall as a Category 4 storm early Thursday, as it moved through the state.
Edwards said the current priority is search and rescue, followed by efforts to find hotel or motel rooms for those who have lost their homes.
Hotel rooms are needed because conventional communal shelters pose a risk for spreading the coronavirus.
Laura slammed the Gulf Coast early Thursday and roared through Louisiana. The bulk of the damage was reported in Louisiana. The storm barreled over Lake Charles, Louisiana, an industrial and casino city of 80,000 people.
Extensive property damage has been reported; a floating casino that came unmoored hit a bridge.
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf told Trump that the situation on the ground “is fluid and challenging,” but the Federal Emergency Management Agency is responding.
The hurricane’s top wind speed of 150 mph (241 kph) put it among the most powerful on record in the U.S.