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  • A parking lot is flooded from Hurricane Laura, which made landfall early Thursday morning as a Category 4 storm. Lafayette, Louisiana, U.S. August 27, 2020.

    A parking lot is flooded from Hurricane Laura, which made landfall early Thursday morning as a Category 4 storm. Lafayette, Louisiana, U.S. August 27, 2020. | Photo: EFE/EPA/Dan Anderson

Published 27 August 2020
Opinion

The most powerful hurricane to strike the U.S. this year, Laura has already claimed four fatalities, including a 14-year-old girl after a tree fell on her house.

The storm, which has hit much of the Caribbean, reached the Louisiana coast this Thursday morning, with 150mph winds causing over half a million power outages and at least three other tree-related deaths.

Heading northwards towards Shreveport, Louisiana rather than westward to Texas, as was largely predicted, the storm will likely miss Houston but threaten coastal Port Arthur with storm surge flooding.

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While authorities ordered coastal residents to evacuate, many have not, as was the case for Hurricane Rita in 2005, leading to already "catastrophic conditions," the Nation Hurricane Center stated, including a billowing fire at the BioLab chemical plant in Westlake. More than 150 Cameron parish residents, where Laura first hit the U.S. mainland, decided not to evacuate, leading to fears of more significant loss of life.

Evidence suggests the Atlantic hurricane season is worsening due to warming warms caused by climate change, which is why Laura is the region's most powerful hurricane in a century, and ties for the fastest storm in Louisiana history. 

Extensive damage already includes highways littered with downed power lines, entire mobile home parks flattened by the winds, tall glass office buildings 30 miles inland spotted with blown-out windows, and streets covered with water closer to the coast.

The center of the storm is forecast to move over Arkansas Thursday night, the mid-Mississippi Valley on Friday, and the mid-Atlantic states on Saturday.

The impending meteorological situation comes in the context of a $44 billion looting of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Disaster Response Fund by U.S. President Donald Trump to fund his COVID-19 response, a decision which will disproportionately affect the coastal residents of Lousiana, Mississippi, and Texas who are already suffering from high COVID-19 infection rates.

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