Hurricane Laura has weakened into a tropical storm, but continues to barrel inland across the southeastern United States as a powerful tempest with an “unsurvivable storm surge” expected in some areas, according to the National Hurricane Center.
The storm made landfall near the Texas-Louisiana border early Thursday as a Category 4 major hurricane with a maximum sustained wind speed of 150 mph. The storm weakened into a tropical storm that afternoon with sustained winds of 70 mph.
President Donald Trump approved Arkansas’ request for federal emergency assistance as the state begins cleaning up following the storm that created storm surges and destructive flash flooding.
Images from the affected areas show dozens of downed power lines, debris strewn in the streets and damaged buildings with blown-out windows.
A 14-year-old girl in Louisiana is the first known fatality from Hurricane Laura, according to Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards. The girl died when a tree fell on her home in the Leesville area.
“I suspect that won’t be the last, though I pray we don’t have any more,” Edwards told MSNBC.
‘Texas Governor Greg Abbott said no deaths have been reported in the state so far, which he noted was “really premature.”
As many as 10,000 people have evacuated their homes in Texas, particularly in the southeastern area of the state along the coast and near the border with Louisiana, according to Abbott.
“Those evacuations did save lives,” he said.