Tropical Storm Laura batters Louisiana

By Meg Wagner, Amy Woodyatt and Melissa Mahtani, CNN

Updated 9:11 PM ET, Thu August 27, 2020
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3:48 p.m. ET, August 27, 2020

More than 800,000 customers in Louisiana and Texas don't have power

From CNN's Devon Sayers

Downed power lines block a road after hurricane Laura passed through Lake Charles, Louisiana, on August 27.
Downed power lines block a road after hurricane Laura passed through Lake Charles, Louisiana, on August 27. Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images

At least 806,828 customers remain without power in Louisiana and Texas as of 3:20 p.m. ET, according to PowerOutage.US.

Louisiana is experiencing the most significant outages from Hurricane Laura. 

Here's a breakdown of the outages in both states:

  • Louisiana: 615,045
  • Texas: 191,783
3:05 p.m. ET, August 27, 2020

Trump says he will travel to Gulf Coast to survey hurricane damage this weekend

From CNN's Nikki Carvajal 

President Donald Trump speaks during a Hurricane Laura briefing at FEMA headquarters on August 27 in Washington, DC.
President Donald Trump speaks during a Hurricane Laura briefing at FEMA headquarters on August 27 in Washington, DC. Evan Vucci/AP

President Trump says he’ll head to the Gulf Coast “Saturday or Sunday” to survey damage from Hurricane Laura. 

During a briefing at the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s national headquarters on Thursday, Trump also said he considered pushing back his speech to the Republican National Convention in light of the hurricane.

“I was actually prepared to postpone the speech tonight and make it Monday,” Trump said. “I was going to Texas, I was going to Louisiana, maybe Arkansas.”

“But now it turned out we got a little bit lucky. It was very big, it was very powerful but it passed quickly. And so everything is going to be on schedule,” he said, referring back to his nomination acceptance speech tonight.

Trump said he would “probably” make the trip on Saturday or Sunday, and head to “Texas and Louisiana and maybe an additional stop.”

He concluded by thanking FEMA and local law enforcement.

3:10 p.m. ET, August 27, 2020

Louisiana governor: "We have sustained a tremendous amount of damage"

 From CNN’s Devon M. Sayers

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards speaks with CNN on Thursday, August 27.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards speaks with CNN on Thursday, August 27. CNN

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said that while Hurricane Laura didn't bring "the absolute catastrophic damage that we thought that was likely," the state was still hard-hit.

"We have sustained a tremendous amount of damage," he said at a news conference. 

Edwards said at least four people in the state have died as a result of the storm. All four deaths were due to trees falling. 

Regarding a chemical plant fire near Lake Charles, Edwards said, "We are doing everything we can to get that situation under control." He also said that the I-10 bridge in the area is closed for inspection after a casino barge broke away and made contact with the bridge. 

Edwards said a priority was moving people that needed shelter into hotel or motel rooms due to the need to social distance because of Covid-19.

2:39 p.m. ET, August 27, 2020

Louisiana's Vermilion Parish lifts curfew

From CNN's Amanda Watts

Despite damage to home and properties, Vermilion Parish Sheriff Mike Couvillon announced he's lifting the curfew with immediate effect.

Vermilion Parish is just east of Cameron, Louisiana, where Laura made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane earlier today.  

Couvillon said:

“I will be lifting the curfew immediately that I implemented for Vermilion Parish. Even though this curfew is lifted, I ask that you check with each of your local municipalities on their curfews.” 

Couvillon said “some homes and properties have taken on water or have been damaged due to wind and surge,” adding that everyone should use “courtesy for their neighbors,” and help people "restore their lives.” 

As first responders were deployed to the area to assess the damage, Couvillon said, “Though we are not out of the woods yet, through communication and preparation all of these entities were able to deploy assets immediately and begin the process of getting normalcy back in everyone’s lives.” 

“We know how important it is to return to your residence and check on pets, livestock, and access damages at your home. I also would like to thank all of the utility companies that are working diligently to restore our power,” his post on Facebook said. 

2:18 p.m. ET, August 27, 2020

New Jersey sends tasks force to Louisiana to help with Hurricane Laura clean-up

From CNN's Sheena Jones

New Jersey Office of Emergency Management is sending a task force to Louisiana to assist with rescue and recovery efforts following Hurricane Laura, Gov. Phil Murphy tweeted.

This team has been deployed seven times as a team for the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Urban Search & Rescue, the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management tweeted.

The mayor tweeted a short video of crews preparing to leave Wall, New Jersey, earlier today.

Watch the moment:

2:05 p.m. ET, August 27, 2020

Laura's bringing "flooding rainfall and strong winds" to Louisiana and Arkansas

Tropical Storm Laura is about 65 miles east northeast of Shreveport and has winds of 65 mph, according to the National Weather Service's latest forecast advisory.

The center is now warning of "flooding rainfall and strong winds spreading inland over northern Louisiana and southeastern Arkansas."

"High water levels persist along portions of the Gulf Coast," the center said in its 2 p.m. ET update.

Here's a look at Laura's latest predicted path:

1:52 p.m. ET, August 27, 2020

Tropical Storm Laura is impacting American Airlines operations at these 13 airports

From CNN's Hollie Silverman and Amanda Watts

Tropical Storm Laura is impacting operations at at least 13 airports that American Airlines serves, a travel alert from the airline said Thursday.

The alert says that any customers traveling to, through, or from the following airports may have their change fee waived if certain guidelines are met.

  • Alexandria, Louisiana (AEX)
  • Baton Rouge, Louisiana (BTR)
  • Beaumont / Port Arthur, Texas (BPT)
  • Gulfport / Biloxi, Mississippi (GPT)
  • Houston George Bush Intercontinental, Houston, Texas (IAH)
  • Houston Hobby, Houston, Texas (HOU)
  • Key West, Florida (EYW)
  • Lafayette, Louisiana (LFT)
  • Lake Charles, Louisiana (LCH)
  • Mobile, Alabama (MOB)
  • Monroe, Louisiana (MLU)
  • New Orleans, Louisiana (MSY)
  • Shreveport, Louisiana (SHV)
1:19 p.m. ET, August 27, 2020

Laura is now a tropical storm

From CNN's Dave Hennen

Laura has now weakened below hurricane strength and is a 70 mph tropical storm, according to the latest update from the National Hurricane Center. 

The storm, which became a hurricane for the first time at 8:15 a.m. ET on Tuesday morning, went through a period of rapid intensification and made landfall overnight as a Category 4, 150 mph storm. 

The center of Laura is currently located over northern Louisiana and will track into Arkansas today and continue to weaken. 

Remember: Even though Laura is now just a tropical storm, it is still producing a number of hazards including tropical storm force winds, isolated tornadoes and heavy rain. Rainfall totals of 4-8 inches are forecast over the Mississippi Valley and Ohio Valley into the weekend, which will lead to flash flooding. 

Clean up could take weeks or months over the hardest-hit areas. There are already 750,000 customers currently without power, according to PowerOutage.us in Louisiana and Texas.

1:02 p.m. ET, August 27, 2020

Louisiana State Police say they're working with chemical plant to contain the leak near Lake Charles

From CNN's Devon Sayers

The Louisiana State Police Emergency Services Unit (ESU) issued a statement confirming their technicians are working a hazardous material incident involving a chlorine leak originating from the BioLab chemical manufacturing facility in Westlake, Louisiana.

They said LSP ESU personnel are coordinating with plant managers to contain the leak and urged citizens to follow emergency orders from local officials.

Read the full statement below: