Hurricane Laura Barreling Toward the Texas/Louisiana Coast

Hurricane Laura        Image: NOAA GOES Satellite

Hurricane Laura is expected to make landfall very late tonight or very early tomorrow as a monstrous Category 4 hurricane that will cause major damage due to both high winds and storm surge. 

He urged all Texans in the storm’s path to “Remember, just because a hurricane is coming to Texas, does not mean that Covid-19 either has or is going to leave Texas,” and he told them to continue to maintain social distancing and wear face masks.

Why This Matters:  A category 4 storm is bad enough, but to have to deal with evacuating half a million people, many of them poor, during a pandemic is beyond challenging. And the damage to the energy sector could be extensive.

  • COVID enormously complicates this disaster and there is likely to be a surge in cases as a result.  Houston, which will likely be impacted, is very vulnerable to flooding, and there are huge oil and gas operations that must withstand the storm unlike any they have seen in more than a decade.

Where is the President’s focus during this emergency?  Not here. 

  • If you live in the region, we hope you stay safe.

Texas: What’s In The Path of the Storm

As of now, the storm is forecast to hit East Texas and Western Louisiana — right around the border.  Right in its path is Port Arthur, Texas, which has the nation’s largest oil refinery.  And there are many large oil and gas facilities drilling and pumping offshore in the Gulf of Mexico also in the storm’s path — and they have also been evacuated.  Thousands of first responders and emergency workers, including the National Guard, are ready to respond during and after the storm with motorboats, aircraft, and other equipment.  The state of Texas is setting up large shelters throughout the hurricane zone where they are trying to ensure social distancing.

Louisiana: Significant Flooding In Places Not Usually Seen

Governor John Bel Edwards warned that the storm that would pound the region with powerful winds and heavy rains and could create as much as 13 feet of storm surge on the Louisiana coastline.  During a briefing yesterday he said, “It’s going to be a large, powerful storm.” Edwards told the people living in southwestern Louisiana that need evacuate and then be settled by noon today when the state will start feeling the storm’s effects. Louisiana officials also urged people to stay with relatives or in a hotel in order to avoid spreading COVID-19. The Governor compared Hurricane Laura to 2005’s Hurricane Rita, which caused an estimated $25.2 billion in damage.

To Go Deeper: Read this op/ed I (Monica) wrote that appeared in USA Today on Monday.

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