Laura victims may go weeks without power; US deaths reach 14

Water covers land after the passage of Hurricane Laura, Thursday Aug. 27, 2020, in Cameron, La.
Tropical_Weather_Louisiana_22478 Boaters navigate a flooded road following Hurricane Laura, Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020 in Delcambre, La.
Elaine Rayburn sorts through her belongings at her home on Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020, in Lake Charles, La., in the aftermath of Hurricane Laura.
This aerial photo shows damage from Hurricane Laura, Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020, in Lake Charles, La.
Tropical_Weather_Louisiana_83645 Residents walk through flood water on Chemin Metairie Parkway following Hurricane Laura Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020, in Lafayette, La.
Members of the Dive and Rescue.org Water Rescue and Dive team cut a downed power pole so they can make their way to Cameron after Hurricane Laura Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020 at in Sweet Lake, La.
Johnny Trahant sits on his property on Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020, in Lake Charles, La., in the aftermath of Hurricane Laura. Trahant said he house shook a great deal during the storm.
A confederate statue sits toppled in front of the Calcasieu Parish Courthouse on Ryan Street after Hurricane Laura made landfall as a Category 4 storm Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020 in Lake Charles, La.
A confederate statue sits toppled in front of the Calcasieu Parish Courthouse on Ryan Street after Hurricane Laura made landfall as a Category 4 storm, Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020 in Lake Charles, La.
Tropical_Weather_Louisiana_98699 The windows of the Capitol One Tower are blown out after Hurricane Laura made landfall as a Category 4 storm Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020 in Lake Charles, La.
A man looks into an overturned 18-wheeler truck at daybreak after Hurricane Laura moved through the area Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020, near Sulphur, La.
Boats and debris are seen along the beach following Hurricane Laura in Lake Charles, La., Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020.
This aerial photo shows damage from Hurricane Laura, Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020, in Lake Charles, La.
An electric pole and campaign sign are seen on Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020, in Lake Charles, La., in the aftermath of Hurricane Laura.
This aerial photo shows damage from Hurricane Laura, Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020, in Lake Charles, La.
This aerial photo shows a chemical plant fire in Westlake, La., near Lake Charles, following Hurricane Laura, Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020.
Crews try to secure the Isle of Capri casino boat after it floated away from its dock and got caught underneath the I-10 bridge following Hurricane Laura in Lake Charles, La., Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020.
Homes and other buildings have been left damaged by Hurricane Laura, Thursday Aug. 27, 2020, in Lake Charles, La.
Tropical_Weather_Texas_25093 Neftali Luna surveys damages to the children's wing of the First Pentecostal Church caused by Hurricane Laura, Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020, in Orange, Texas.
Neftali Luna surveys damages to the children's wing of the First Pentecostal Church caused by Hurricane Laura, Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020, in Orange, Texas.
Candy and Michael Dorn sit at their car at The Forge on Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020, in Houston, waiting to hear about the status of their Beaumont home. The couple arrived on Aug. 25 with their two dogs, Babygirl and Bear to The Forge, which has become a shelter for Hurricane Laura evacuees.
The Milligan family, Treysen, 1, from left, dog Khous, mom Meagan, Braxtyn, 9, Tyleigh, 7, and dad Tyler, work on the trees that fell around their Orange, Texas, home because of Hurricane Laura on Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020. The family, that was flooded out of their home during Harvey decided to evacuate. They found a lot of fallen trees, but their home was untouched.
A vehicle drives through some street flooding following landfall of Hurricane Laura on Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020 in Galveston, Texas.
Maria Ramirez and her son 17-year old son Jose Avila stand in front of their home in Orange, Texas, Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020, and survey damage after a portion of the large tree on their front lawn was blown down onto their house by Hurricane Laura's winds. Ramirez, 57, said the tree crashed through her garage and also damaged her living room and kitchen. Ramirez said she her family had evacuated to Houston before the storm came ashore and were not at home when the tree fell.
Tropical_Weather_Louisiana_11737 Flooding surrounds a damaged building Friday, Aug. 28, 2020, in Cameron, La., after Hurricane Laura moved through the area Thursday.
A chemical fire burns at a facility during the aftermath of Hurricane Laura Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020, near Lake Charles, La.
A chemical fire burns at a facility during the aftermath of Hurricane Laura Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020, near Lake Charles, La.
Tropical_Weather_Louisiana_67479 A mobile home is destroyed by a fallen tree, Friday, Aug. 28, 2020, in Westlake, La., as clean up efforts continue following Hurricane Laura.
Tropical_Weather_Louisiana_30051 Rouses Market employees load water into the back of a truck, Friday, Aug. 28, 2020, in Southwest, La., as clean up efforts continue following Hurricane Laura.
Tropical_Weather_Louisiana_20199 A damaged home is shown Friday, Aug. 28, 2020, in Hackberry, La., after Hurricane Laura move through the area Thursday.
Tropical_Weather_Louisiana_21261 Water flows down a flooded street Friday, Aug. 28, 2020, in Cameron, La., after Hurricane Laura moved through the area Thursday.
Tropical_Weather_Louisiana_15958 Pousson's Laundromat and Barbershop is left in ruins, Friday, Aug. 28, 2020, in Westlake, La., from Hurricane Laura.
Tropical_Weather_Louisiana_80478 A Wendy's restaurant is destroyed, Friday, Aug. 28, 2020, in Moss Bluff, La., as clean up efforts continue following Hurricane Laura.
Tropical_Weather_Louisiana_29093 A damaged home is shown Friday, Aug. 28, 2020, in Hackberry, La., after Hurricane Laura move through the area Thursday.
Tropical_Weather_Texas_14899 Shrimp boats remain tied to the dock Friday, Aug. 28, 2020, in Port Arthur, Texas, after Hurricane Laura move through the area Thursday.
Tropical_Weather_85832 Bob Primeaux, right, works with his son Robbie work a roof that was damaged on Friday, Aug. 28, 2020, in Homewood, La., in the aftermath of Hurricane Laura.
Tropical_Weather_Louisiana_04884 Foodwaters cover the street Friday, Aug. 28, 2020, in Cameron, La., after Hurricane Laura moved through the area Thursday.
Tropical_Weather_Louisiana_55078 Flooding surrounds damaged homes Friday, Aug. 28, 2020, in Cameron, La., after Hurricane Laura moved through the area Thursday.
This Jan. 25, 2020, satellite photo provided by Maxar Technologies shows Grand Lake High School and nearby homes south of Lake Charles, La., before Hurricane Laura.
This Aug. 27, 2020, satellite photo provided by Maxar Technologies shows Grand Lake High School and nearby homes south of Lake Charles, La., after Hurricane Laura.
This June 3, 2019, satellite photo provided by Maxar Technologies shows homes near Flounder Drive in Lake Charles, La., before Hurricane Laura.
This Aug. 27, 2020, satellite photo provided by Maxar Technologies shows damaged homes near Flounder Drive in Lake Charles, La., after Hurricane Laura.
Tropical_Weather_Louisiana_90147 Flooding surrounds a damaged building and boat Friday, Aug. 28, 2020, in Cameron, La., after Hurricane Laura moved through the area Thursday.
Tropical_Weather_Louisiana_02926 Business owners survey the damage of Hurricane Laura Friday, Aug. 28, 2020 in Lake Charles. Recovery efforts were underway after Hurricane Laura.
Tropical_Weather_Louisiana_51376 A wooden cross where a pine tree fell just missing this house by inches is seen following Hurricane Laura Friday, Aug. 28, 2020 in Lake Charles, La.
Tropical_Weather_Louisiana_35492 Water surrounds a damaged barge Friday, Aug. 28, 2020, in Cameron, La., after Hurricane Laura moved through the area Thursday.
Tropical_Weather_Louisiana_74819 Cassie Guy carries her dog, Willow, to her car as she leaves following Hurricane Laura Friday, Aug. 28, 2020 in Lake Charles, La. Members of the department along with the Cajun Navy, Empact Northwest, and other search and rescue teams helped with the efforts.
Tropical_Weather_Louisiana_28226 Waiting for the rain to pass before going back up on a roof, Jafet Uscanga, 20, with Paul Davis Restoration based out of Houston squeezes the water out of his sock Friday, Aug. 28, 2020 in Lake Charles. Recovery efforts were underway after Hurricane Laura.
Tropical_Weather_Louisiana_65468 Jafet Uscanga, 20, top left, and his coworkers with Paul Davis Restoration based out of Houston place a 20x50 ft. tarp on a roof Friday, Aug. 28, 2020 in Lake Charles. Recovery efforts were underway after Hurricane Laura.
Tropical_Weather_Louisiana_98273 An American flag bench, right, was brought out to potentially use as a stretcher for a woman, top center, that was being rescued from the third floor of an apartment complex damaged by Hurricane Laura, as members of the fire department, the Cajun Navy, Empact Northwest, and other search and rescue teams helped the efforts on Friday, Aug. 28, 2020, in Lake Charles, La. Because of no electricity, residents of the complex were told they had to move out by the end of the day due. Some of the residents were not able to go down the stairs.
Tropical_Weather_Louisiana_24789 Louisiana National Guardsmen Sgt. Austin Hernandez, center, and Spc. Beau Scoggin, both of New Iberia, guard a drug store Friday, Aug. 28, 2020 in Lake Charles. Recovery efforts were underway after Hurricane Laura.
Tropical_Weather_Louisiana_50001 Debris sits in floodwaters Friday, Aug. 28, 2020, in Cameron, La., after Hurricane Laura moved through the area Thursday.
Tropical_Weather_Louisiana_96030 Snapped pine trees outside Our Lady Queen of Heaven are seen following Hurricane Laura Friday, Aug. 28, 2020 in Lake Charles, La. Members of the department along with the Cajun Navy, Empact Northwest, and other search and rescue teams helped with the efforts.
Tropical_Weather_Louisiana_94854 Louisiana National Guard gather in the rain in a parking lot to plan recovery efforts following Hurricane Laura Friday, Aug. 28, 2020 in Lake Charles, La. Members of the department along with the Cajun Navy, Empact Northwest, and other search and rescue teams helped with the efforts.
Tropical_Weather_Louisiana_61837 A bench decorated similarly to a U.S. flag was brought to potentially use as a stretcher for a woman, top center, being rescued from the third floor of an apartment complex damaged by Hurricane Laura, Friday, Aug. 28, 2020, in Lake Charles, La Members of the fire department, the Cajun Navy, Empact Northwest, and other search and rescue teams helped the efforts. Because the electricity was out, residents of the complex were told they had to move out by the end of the day due to the damage. Some of the residents were not able to go down the stairs.
Tropical_Weather_Louisiana_84318 Roofers cut a pine tree into small sections to clear it from the inside of a house Friday, Aug. 28, 2020 in Lake Charles, La.
Tropical_Weather_Louisiana_92343 Lake Charles firefighters cut a section of railing off a third-floor balcony in their attempt to extend a ladder to an apartment complex damaged by Hurricane Laura, Friday, Aug. 28, 2020, in Lake Charles, La. Members of the department along with the Cajun Navy, Empact Northwest, and other search and rescue teams helped with the efforts. Because of a lack of electricity, residents of the complex were told they had to move out by the end of the day due to the damage. Some of the residents were not able to go down the stairs.
Tropical_Weather_Louisiana_28174 Wedding dresses hang within a pile of debris at a store in Lake Charles, La., Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. Residents and business owners were slowly making their way back into the city following Hurricane Laura.
Tropical_Weather_Louisiana_73306 Flooding surrounds a damaged building Friday, Aug. 28, 2020, in Cameron, La., after Hurricane Laura moved through the area Thursday.
Tropical_Weather_Louisiana_60692 Flooding surrounds a damaged building Friday, Aug. 28, 2020, in Cameron, La., after Hurricane Laura moved through the area Thursday.
Tropical_Weather_Louisiana_14121 Flooding and damage is shown Friday, Aug. 28, 2020, in Cameron, La., after Hurricane Laura moved through the area Thursday.
Tropical_Weather_Louisiana_62200 Flooding surrounds damaged homes and buildings Friday, Aug. 28, 2020, in Cameron, La., after Hurricane Laura moved through the area Thursday.
Tropical_Weather_Louisiana_56330 Foodwaters cover the street Friday, Aug. 28, 2020, in Cameron, La., after Hurricane Laura moved through the area Thursday.
Tropical_Weather_Louisiana_45657 Floodwaters cover the street under downed utility wires Friday, Aug. 28, 2020, in Cameron, La., after Hurricane Laura moved through the area Thursday.
Tropical_Weather_Louisiana_62778 Flooding surrounds a damaged building and boat Friday, Aug. 28, 2020, in Cameron, La., after Hurricane Laura moved through the area Thursday.
Tropical_Weather_Louisiana_11626 A man clears a road of debris in Westlake, La., Friday, Aug. 28, 2020, after Hurricane Laura moved through the area on Thursday.
Tropical_Weather_Louisiana_29090 Flooding and damage is shown Friday, Aug. 28, 2020, in Cameron, La., after Hurricane Laura moved through the area Thursday.
Tropical_Weather_Louisiana_53653 Buildings and homes are flooded in the aftermath of Hurricane Laura Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020, near Lake Charles, La.
Tropical_Weather_Louisiana_67410 A building is left damaged by Hurricane Laura, Thursday Aug. 27, 2020, in Lake Charles, La.
Tropical_Weather_Louisiana_69845 Buildings and homes are flooded in the aftermath of Hurricane Laura Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020, near Lake Charles, La.
Tropical_Weather_85832 Bob Primeaux, right, works with his son Robbie in the aftermath of Hurricane Laura on a roof that was damaged on Friday, Aug. 28, 2020, in Homewood, La.
APTOPIX_Tropical_Weather_Louisiana_33421 A airplane hangar is destroyed Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020, after Hurricane Laura went through the area near Lake Charles, La.
APTOPIX_Tropical_Weather_Louisiana_38273 This drone photo shows the roof blown off of an AutoZone store along Nelson Road in the aftermath of Hurricane Laura, Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020, in Lake Charles, La.
Tropical_Weather_Texas_32165 Lakewood Church staff member Gladis Guerra aided in collecting items for East Texas & Louisiana residents who were affected by Hurricane Laura, Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020, in Houston. Donations will be accepted Thursday, Friday and Saturday beginning at 9 a.m. Items they need most are bottled water, baby wipes, formula and diapers.
(1/74)

LAKE CHARLES, La. (AP) — The Louisiana coastline devastated by Hurricane Laura began a long and gloomy recovery Friday as hundreds of thousands of people still without water and power confronted the possibility that basic services may not return for weeks or even longer. The number of dead climbed to at least 14.

A day after the Category 4 storm hit, more bodies emerged in the aftermath in Louisiana and neighboring Texas. The deaths included five people killed by fallen trees and one person who drowned in a boat. Eight people died from carbon monoxide poisoning due to unsafe operation of generators, including three inside a Texas pool hall, where authorities say the owner had let seven Vietnamese shrimp boat laborers and homeless men take shelter. The other four were in critical condition.

The lack of essential resources was grim for the many evacuated residents eager to return.

Chad Peterson planned to board up a window and head to Florida. “There’s no power. There’s no water. There’s no utilities,” he said.

Thousands of people who heeded dire warnings and fled the Gulf Coast returned to homes without roofs, roads littered with debris and the likelihood of a harsh recovery that could take months.

Lawrence “Lee” Faulk came back to a home with no roof in hard-hit Cameron Parish, which was littered with downed power lines. His metal storage building, 24 feet square, was thrown into a neighbor’s oak trees.

“We need help,” Faulk said. “We need ice, water, blue tarps — everything that you would associate with the storm, we need it. Like two hours ago.”

The White House said President Donald Trump would visit the region Saturday and survey the damage.

Simply driving in Lake Charles, a city of 80,000 residents that sustained some of the worst damage, was a feat. Power lines and trees blocked paths or created one-lane roads that drivers had to navigate with oncoming traffic. Street signs were snapped off their perches or dangled, and no stoplights worked, making it a trust exercise with those sharing the roads.

Mayor Nic Hunter cautioned that there was no timetable for restoring electricity and that water-treatment plants “took a beating,” resulting in barely a trickle of water coming out of most faucets. “If you come back to Lake Charles to stay, make sure you understand the above reality and are prepared to live in it for many days, probably weeks,” Hunter wrote on Facebook.

Caravans of utility trucks were met Friday by thunderstorms in the sizzling heat, complicating recovery efforts.

Forty nursing homes were also relying on generators, and assessments were underway to determine if more than 860 residents in 11 facilities that had been evacuated could return. Water outages remained a major problem in evacuated facilities, the Louisiana Department of Health said.

Meanwhile, the hurricane’s remnants threatened to bring flooding and tornadoes to Tennessee as the storm, now a tropical depression, drifted north. Forecasters warned that the system could strengthen into a tropical storm again upon returning to the Atlantic Ocean this weekend.

In the storm’s wake, more than 600,000 homes and businesses were without power in Louisiana, Texas and Arkansas, according to poweroutage.us, which tracks utility reports.

The Louisiana Department of Health estimated that more than 220,000 people were without water. Restoration of those services could take weeks or months, and full rebuilding could take years.

Ira Lyles returned to find that his downtown Lake Charles salon called The Parlor House survived with little damage, but his home was destroyed.

“It tore the front off, tore the front of the roof off, picked up my camper trailer and hit the side wall, and the side wall buckled and cracked inside,” he said. “I think it’s going to be a wash.”

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards called Laura, which packed a top wind speed of 150 mph (241 kph), the most powerful hurricane to strike Louisiana, meaning it surpassed even Katrina, which was a Category 3 storm when it hit in 2005. He said officials now believe the surge was as high as 15 feet and added that tens of thousands of people were displaced by the storm.

Late Friday night, Edwards announced that the president had approved Louisiana’s major disaster declaration request, saying in a statement that the step paves the way for getting aid to the hard-hit communities.

More than 580,000 coastal residents were put under evacuation as the hurricane gained strength in the Gulf of Mexico. Laura was the seventh named storm to strike the U.S. this year, setting a new record for U.S. landfalls by the end of August. Laura hit the U.S. after killing nearly two dozen people in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

In Lake Charles, chainsaws buzzed and heavy machinery hauled tree limbs in the front lawn of Stanley and Dominique Hazelton, who rode out the storm on a bathroom floor. A tree punctured the roof just a few feet from where the couple was taking cover.

They regretted staying.

“There’s people without homes,” Stanley Hazelton said. “So it was dumb. We’ll never do it again. We’ll never stay through another hurricane again.”

___

Associated Press contributors include Jamie Stengle in Dallas; Janet McConnaughey in New Orleans; John L. Mone in Holly Beach, Louisiana; Paul J. Weber in Austin, Texas; Seth Borenstein in Kensington, Maryland; and Adrian Sainz in Memphis, Tennessee.

Copyright © 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

Related Categories:

Latest News | National News

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up