Hurricane Laura hit regions of Louisiana the hardest, but also impacted several counties along the Texas Gulf Coast. The storm made landfall on Thursday as a Category 4 hurricane, leaving approximately 840,003 Louisiana residents and more than 240,000 Texans without power.
According to the National Hurricane Center, Hurricane Laura moved inland through southwestern Louisiana with maximum sustained wind speeds of 150 mph early Thursday morning. Experts estimate the storm surge reached 20 feet. As the storm moved further inland on Thursday, it weakened to a tropical storm.
More than 240,000 Texans experienced a power outage as a result of Hurricane Laura, particularly in Jefferson and Orange counties, which are situated near the Louisiana border. Additionally, the storm caused outages for 840,003 Louisiana residents, 43,087 people in Arkansas, and 12,633 in Mississippi.
As the storm approached the Gulf Coast, approximately 10,000 people evacuated from Texas, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott told ABC’s Good Morning America. “It could have been a lifesaver,” Abbott said. “That may be one reason why we don’t have any reports of loss of life yet.”
The first known storm-related fatality was reported in Louisiana following the storm. Gov. John Bel Edwards reported a 14-year-old girl was killed when a tree was knocked over and fell on her home.
New Orleans-based Entergy Corp. has begun periodic power outages for thousands in Texas, including residents in far northern and eastern regions of Houston. Montgomery, Chambers, Liberty, and Walker counties are among those experiencing these outages.
These brownouts are a result of Hurricane Laura, which damaged a transmission line in the Entergy service area. This damage impacted Entergy’s power supply, which is why the company is currently limiting the supply during the hottest time of the day when demand is at its peak.
Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough stated these brownouts could last for three days. Entergy has released a statement explaining that it is working to repair this transmission line.
Keough stated, “Right now they are working to reenergize transmission lines that if all goes well tonight should be up soon and will bring most of us out of the dark. They are continuing to power up a current shut down power plant that was shut down due to evacuation of the area. If these options come online tonight we should see power back on at some point tonight.”
The majority of the Houston region is covered by CenterPoint Energy, which is based in Houston. As of Thursday evening, more than 99 percent of CenterPoint customers still had power, according to the CenterPoint Electric Outage Center.
Caitlin Cosper is a writer within the energy and power industry. Born in Georgia, she attended the University of Georgia before earning her master’s in English at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.