Hurricane Laura made landfall at 1am this morning in Cameron, Louisiana as a Category 4 storm. The storm has weakened to a Category 2 as it moves northward at a rapid clip up the Louisiana-Texas border; it will weaken to a tropical storm over Arkansas.
Laura’s most devastating effect were its wind speeds and storm surge. As a Category 4 storm, Laura brought maximum sustained winds of 150 miles per hour, just shy of becoming a Category 5. Such heavy winds can knock down power lines and damage buildings and vehicles. The storm surge was roughly 10-15 feet (estimated at 16-20 feet in some places), devastating any buildings or objects near the coastline. Rainfall over the next few days is expected to be six to ten inches, with local areas expecting up to 18 inches, which will exacerbate surge-induced flooding.
Over 415,000 customers are without power in Texas and Louisiana, so expect utilities to spring to work as soon as the storm has passed to begin restoring electricity. Most fuel terminals in the area shut down early yesterday. As the storm passes and inspections begin, more reports will come out this afternoon.
Mansfield remains on Code Orange for Louisiana and Arkansas. Despite the powerful storm, Louisiana’s fuel markets have not yet shown the severe supply or freight constraints that would typically require a Code Red alert. As the storm’s path has narrowed, Texas and Oklahoma are moving to Code Green. Texas markets have reopened quickly since Laura’s worst effects hit Louisiana.