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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8:21 p.m. ET, August 27, 2020

Water service out in most of Lake Charles

From CNN’s Christina Zdanowicz

Floodwaters at a neighborhood near downtown Lake Charles, Louisiana,  on Thursday, August 27.
Floodwaters at a neighborhood near downtown Lake Charles, Louisiana, on Thursday, August 27. Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Hurricane Laura knocked out most of the water service in Lake Charles, Louisiana, Thursday.

“We’ve got some plants that are open, but it’s not enough to serve the entire city. The pressure is in the single digits,” City Administrator John Cardone told CNN.

Cardone said engineering consultants are coming to the city to help fix the system, which they hope to have to at least 45% capacity on Friday. The problem, according to the city administrator, is not just a loss of power, but also the potential for broken pipes all over the city.

“There were a lot of uprooted trees on private property,” said Cardone. “If they got the water lines on the private property, we’d need to go there and locate it. If people are evacuated, we don’t know where the leaks are.”

7:33 p.m. ET, August 27, 2020

CDC issues health advisory over carbon monoxide poisoning risks in aftermath of Hurricane Laura

From CNN’s Shelby Lin Erdman

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a Health Alert Network advisory Thursday warning of the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning in the aftermath of Hurricane Laura, which slammed into the Louisiana coast early Thursday as a powerful Category 4 storm.

The storm has knocked out power to thousands of homes and businesses and people could turn to “alternate power sources such as gasoline generators and may use propane or charcoal grills for cooking,” the CDC said.

“If used or placed improperly, these sources can lead to CO (carbon monoxide) buildup inside buildings, garages, or campers and poison the people and animals inside," the CDC said.

The agency is advising doctors in the hurricane zone to pay attention to symptoms that could be related to CO poisoning. They can include headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, weakness, chest pain and altered mental status. Symptoms with no fever with symptoms, a history of exposure or multiple people with similar complaints are red flags for carbon monoxide exposure.

Babies, pregnant women, the elderly and people with chronic conditions, such as anemia, respiratory illness or heart disease are most at risk for CO poisoning, the agency said.

“Appropriate and prompt diagnostic testing and treatment are crucial to reduce morbidity and prevent mortality from CO poisoning,” the CDC said in the health advisory. “Identifying and mitigating the CO source is critical in preventing other poisoning cases.”

7:16 p.m. ET, August 27, 2020

At least 6 people in Louisiana have died from Hurricane Laura

From CNN’s Andy Rose

Six people died Thursday in Louisiana as a result of Hurricane Laura, according to the state's Department of Health.

Two of the victims were in Calcasieu Parish, while there were also fatalities in Acadia, Allen, Jackson and Vernon Parishes, spokesperson Alyson Neel tells CNN.

The victims range in age from 14 to 68.

5:05 p.m. ET, August 27, 2020

Arkansas governor prepares for inbound Tropical Storm Laura 

From CNN's Devon Sayers

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson speaks with CNN on Thursday, August 27.
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson speaks with CNN on Thursday, August 27. CNN

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said he is preparing for Tropical Storm Laura to hit the state by pre-deploying search and rescue teams as well as members of the state's National Guard.

“The danger will really be coming in the next 24 hours,” Hutchinson told CNN’s Jake Tapper.

He said that 30,000 residents are currently without power in his state but that he expects that number to rise. 

Hutchinson said no one has died, but he urged everyone to stay alert.

"We're cautioning everybody to pay attention, be safe, but the danger will really be coming in the next 24 hours and even after that with the flash flooding," he said.

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: