Hurricane Laura Strikes

This article was originally published on September 1, 2020.

Hurricane Laura was a deadly Category 4 hurricane that recently occurred. It tied the 1865 Last Island hurricane as the strongest hurricane ever recorded to make landfall in Louisiana. The storm made landfall at 1 am near Cameron, LA, about 35 miles east of the Texas border. Hurricane Laura originated from a tropical wave that moved off of the African coast and became a tropical depression on August 20. Unfortunately, at least 18 people died due to this hurricane in the US. Moreover, the storm inflicted significant damage to southwestern Louisiana and southeastern Texas.

When the tropical wave first emerged off the coast of Africa, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) noted the potential that the system could develop into a tropical cyclone, also called typhoon and hurricane. On August 20, the NHC started issuing advisories on Tropical Depression 13. One day later, the NHC upgraded the depression to Tropical Storm Laura. This made Laura the earliest twelfth named Atlantic storm. The storm strengthened as it passed south of Puerto Rico, producing a large area of thunderstorms. On August 23, Laura made landfall near San Pedro de Macorís, Dominican Republic. Later that same day, Laura emerged from Haiti and made a second landfall near Santiago de Cuba Province, Cuba. On August 25, the storm lost its inner core of thunderstorms and made landfall in Pinar del Rio, Cuba and the NHC later upgraded Laura to hurricane status. One day later, Hurricane Laura intensified into a major hurricane before reaching Category 4 just six hours later. On August 27, Laura’s pressure began to fluctuate as it approached the Louisiana coastline. That same day, the storm made landfall near Cameron, LA. While moving inland, Laura began to weaken quickly due to frictional displacement and shear created by the trough that caused Hurricane Marco to dissipate just two days earlier. Early on August 28, the storm dropped to tropical depression status over Arkansas.

Hurricane Laura caused damage to many places. The storm brought heavy rainfall on the islands of Guadeloupe and Dominica and in the Netherlands Antilles, Saba, Sint Eustatius, and Sint-Maarten saw minor flooding. Scattered power outages brought by the storm affected 4,000 people in Saint Kitts and Nevis and those in the Virgin Islands. Flash flooding also occurred in the Virgin Islands. Furthermore, Tropical Storm Laura brought damaging winds, and flooding rains to the majority of the Dominican Republic. Approximately 1.1. Million people lost power, and 1.56 million people experienced disruption to water sources. Early assessments as of August 24 indicated significant damage to 1,791 homes. Similar to the Dominican Republic, heavy precipitation and flooding affected much of Haiti. Cuba was also subjected to damaging winds and flooding rains. Moreover, flash flooding across Jamaica caused significant disruptions to road infrastructure and the damage was estimated to be around 360,000 dollars according to Jamaica’s National Works Agency. Gusty winds and heavy rainfall affected the Cayman Islands, as well.

In the United States, the storm inflicted an estimated 8 million dollars in damage to southwestern Louisiana and southeastern Texas. In Puerto Rico, Laura caused flooding in the Salinas and caused around 200,000 customers to lose power with nearly 14,000 losing access to running water. In Florida, tropical-storm-force wind gusts affected several counties across southern Florida. Louisiana was subject to storm surge flooding and heavy winds. Widespread power outages also were reported near the landfall point in Cameron and several homes suffered roof damage. In Texas, heavy winds caused trees, parking lot lamps, power lines, and roofs to fall. Mississippi also experienced widespread flash flooding. Numerous trees were downed in Arkansas, as well.

To help victims recover from Hurricane Larua, it is suggested to donate to relief funds, volunteer, and spread awareness. The Cajun Navy is working to rescue those who are stranded and get them critical supplies. Moreover, SPB is focusing on helping many recovers from the storm. The Community Foundation of Southwest Louisiana is collecting donations for local organizations supporting relief efforts. Furthermore, the Houston Food Bank has prepared dozens of trucks packed with food waiting to dispatch. The Austin Disaster Relief is also collecting donations to help get evacuees settled temporarily into Austin hotels. Louisiana Baptists has trained volunteers to help clean up and feed the hungry.

As for national organizations, the Salvation Army has set up more than 15 mobile feeding stations to aid first-responders and survivors across Louisiana, Texas, and Arkansas. Moreover, the Red Cross has hundreds of volunteers in Lousiana and Texas providing medical services and helping with the relief efforts. Americares has set up a relief fund dedicated to supporting those in disaster areas who need medical supplies. United Way of Southwest Lousiana has also set up a fund to support relief efforts. All Hands and Hearts has deployed volunteers in disaster areas to help clean, rebuild homes, and help victims recover. Operation BBQ Relief is a Missouri-based organization that brings barbecue meals to disaster sites to feed emergency medical workers and displaced families. Similarly, Mercy Chefs is also providing miles to those affected. GoFundMe has set up a page for all fund-raisers in support of Hurricane Laura victims. Last but not least, Family Promise is an organization helping to support those displaced or homeless as a result of the storm.

To donate to or volunteer for the organizations I have mentioned above, go to Right now, it is important that we do what we can to help those who have been affected by Hurricane Laura to recover. If you cannot donate or volunteer, please spread the word to those who can. Stay safe!