Publisher's note: This post appears here courtesy of the The Daily Wire, and written by Emily Zanotti.
Hurricane Laura made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane overnight, devastating parts of eastern Louisiana, hitting the areas surrounding Lake Charles and Shreveport directly, causing major damage.
Laura is the first storm since Hurricane Rita to make landfall above a Category 3. After slamming into the Gulf Coast, the storm has weekend and is now a Category 1, though it has spawned significant storm surges, oceans swells, and clusters of tornadoes, according to Fox News's
The storm is responsible for at least one death, according to the Louisana governor's office: "a 14-year-old girl who died when a tree fell on her home."
More fatalities are expected.
"A 127 mph wind gust was measured at Calcasieu Pass, La., and a sustained wind of 93 mph was measured around 5 a.m. local time in Cameron on the backside of the storm,"
Fox News reported early Thursday. "In Lake Charles, which took a direct hit, skyscrapers were without glass, while pieces of sheet metal and roofing were seen throughout city streets."
The Louisana Office of the Fire Marshal was able to gather shocking "before" and "after" photos of some of the damage in and around Lake Charles.
Although the damage is significant and widespread — Louisiana authorities estimate that around 600,000 people are without power Thursday morning and nearly every building in Lake Charles sustained some damage — the expected "unsurvivable" storm surge did not materialize, leaving some residents of the area, which was struck directly by Hurricane Rita back in 2005, relieved.
The storm, however, brought with it extreme winds that classified the storm as "borderline" between Categories 4 and 5. At landfall, the storm's winds reached around 150 mph, with 157 mph being the cutoff for the next storm category.
Meteorologists tracking the storm in Lake Charles posted a number of incredible videos to social media, demonstrating the wind's power. The eyewall was particularly well defined — a sign of a superstorm.
It will still be hours before Laura weakens into a tropical depression, and forecasters warned residents "that high water levels are persisting along the Gulf Coast,"
per CBS News. "Tornadoes are possible through Thursday night in parts of Louisiana, Arkansas, and Mississippi."
Tropical storm warnings remain in effect from High Island, Texas, on the eastern side of the state, all the way through the mouth of the Mississippi River. Tornado watches are in effect throughout eastern Louisiana, western Mississippi, and up into southern Arkansas.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott warned residents to remain sheltered in place.
"Even as we're speaking right now, the storm continues to rip through east Texas. And so Texans are in danger,"
Abbott said. "They need to continue to take cover as tornadoes and heavy storms are ripping through there. East Texas has many tall trees, many of which have been downed already. People need to be very vigilant still as we are speaking."