Courtesy of WaPo:

Hurricane Laura slammed southern Louisiana early Thursday as a Category 4 storm, one of the most powerful to strike the Gulf Coast in decades. The storm made landfall at 1 a.m. near Cameron, La., about 35 miles east of the Texas border.

Downtown Lake Charles, La. took a heavy hit, with widespread destruction from Laura’s devastating winds. Roofs were peeled off, buildings were destroyed, and lampposts were tossed into the streets.

The storm, which leaped from a Category 1 hurricane on Tuesday to a high-end Category 4 on Wednesday night, packed 150 mph peak winds when it crossed the coast. The storm weakened and was downgraded to a Category 2 hurricane Thursday morning as it headed northward, but it still had sustained winds of more than 100 mph.

Heavy rain was predicted to be widespread across the west-central Gulf Coast with five to 10 inches falling over a broad area, and locally up to 18 inches, leading to flash flooding.

Lake Charles, La., had issued mandatory evacuations on Wednesday. There was major damage to buildings in the city’s downtown area, which endured the brunt of the storm’s eyewall.

The National Weather Service issued an “extreme wind warning” from Beaumont and Port Arthur in Texas to coastal southwest Louisiana for destructive hurricane-force winds. Cameron, La., clocked a wind gust to 116 mph, while Lake Charles, La. recorded a gust to 132 mph.

Laura’s rate of intensification between Tuesday and Wednesday tied for the fastest on record in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Hurricane Center said storm surge inundation could be “unsurvivable,” affecting areas up 40 miles inland from the coast in southwest Louisiana and that floodwaters may not fully recede for several days after the storm. As of 5 a.m., a surge over 9 feet had been observed in parts of coastal southwest Louisiana.

If I were to hear the phrase “unsurvivable” about an approaching weather system you could bet that I would be packing my shit and heading for the border post haste. 

When all is said and done these states are going to need billions of dollars in relief money and help to rebuild. 

Sadly that may prove a little more difficult since somebody has had their hand in the cookie jar. 

Courtesy of Rolling Stone:

Laura, the strongest August hurricane observed in the Gulf of Mexico since Katrina, is steamrolling toward Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas and expected to make landfall by Thursday morning. The National Hurricane Center has warned the storm could bring with it an “unsurvivable” surge — waves up to 20 feet high that may cause “catastrophic” damage up to 30 miles inland — along with hurricane-force winds, heavy rain and widespread flash flooding.

If those predictions bear out, Laura could be one of the most destructive Gulf hurricanes on record. It’s particularly bad timing considering that, less than three weeks ago, instead of working with Congress to craft comprehensive legislation to address the ongoing crisis and deliver desperately-needed aid, President Trump looted FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund to the tune of $44 billion — authorizing the agency to pay for a $300 per week supplement to regular unemployment benefits.

The $300 a week benefit supplement is similar to the $600 one that was included in the CARES Act passed at the start of the pandemic. An extension of that $600 benefit was included in second relief package that the House has already approved, but that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell won’t hold a vote on. And because the Senate won’t sign off on the House bill and Trump didn’t work with lawmakers to reach a compromise, the unemployment supplement isn’t coming from money appropriated by Congress. It’s coming from the government account meant to cover natural disasters like the one presently bearing down on Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas.

The good, news southern states that are being devastated by a hurricane, is that you might have received $300 per week to buy groceries during this pandemic.

The bad news, southern states devastated by a hurricane, is now there is no money to help you rebuild your town. 

Because that is how a man who has mismanaged his various companies through five bankruptcies manages the country’s finances.