At least six die as Hurricane Laura batters Louisiana

At least six die as Hurricane Laura batters Louisiana
More than half a million homes in Louisiana were reported to be without power. Source: Reuters
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Daily US Times: At least six people have been killed as Hurricane Laura battered the southeastern state of Louisiana.

Winds of up to 150mph (240km/h) caused severe damage, a chemical fire from an industrial plant and power cuts to more than half a million homes and

But the feared 20ft (6m) storm surge was avoided as the hurricane, the state’s biggest, tracked further east.

Laura has now been downgraded to tropical storm status, according to the authorities.

The National Hurricane Center said it has since crossed into Arkansas and the storm had weakened to maximum sustained winds of 40mph (65km/h), but was still bringing heavy rainfall.

John Bel Edwards, Louisiana Governor, said the state “did not sustain and suffer the absolute, catastrophic damage that we thought was likely,” but stressed they had still suffered “a tremendous amount of damage” and warned people to remain vigilant.ৎ

President Trump was briefed at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema) and said he would go to the area at the weekend.

The President said he had been prepared to postpone his speech at the Republican National Convention later on Thursday to travel to the state but added: “We got a bit lucky. It was very big and very powerful but it passed quickly.” Mr Trump will visit the states affected at the weekend.

Laura and another storm, Marco, earlier swept across the Caribbean, killing 24 people.

What’s the latest from Louisiana?

Gov Edwards told reporters that at least six people are known to have died after the storm crashed into the US.

Four of them were killed by falling trees. One man died of carbon monoxide poisoning from a generator in his home and another drowned in a boat that sank, authorities said.

Water damage was less than feared but there was more structural damage from winds than anticipated.

As the storm hit the US, nearly 900,000 homes and businesses lost power.

A barge had collided with a bridge in the city of Lake Charles which is close to where a suspected “chlorine chemical fire” at an industrial plant was being attended by emergency services.

People should stay off the roads where possible, as outer bands of the storm were still causing high water levels and winds, Mr Edwards said.

Some 1,500 people, including National Guard troops, are being deployed in rescue and clean-up missions after the devastating impact of Laura.

You may read: Hurricane Laura lashes Louisiana