Damage from Hurricane Laura. Hurricane Laura arrived as a Category 4 hurricane and spread devastation as it traveled inland through parts of Louisiana and Texas. Lake Charles, La., was one of the areas hardest hit by the storm as winds near 150 mph tore down trees and damaged buildings. (Photo: Courtesy of WeGoLook, a Crawford Company)

The strongest hurricane to hit the northwestern Gulf Coast in over 160 years swept through parts of Louisiana and Texas on Thursday (Aug. 27), knocking out power to hundreds of thousands of residents and creating fears of what government officials described as an ‘unsurvivable’ storm surge. Hurricane Laura thundered onto the coast as a Category 4 storm and traveled inland, decimating the town of Lake Charles, where it blew down buildings, bent trees in half like they were twigs, and caused a fire at a chemical plant. It then continued its trip inland, where it left extensive wind damage and flooding in its wake. So far, six deaths have been attributed to the storm.

Hurricane Laura comes as the country is still dealing with the effects of the coronavirus. Social distancing, isolating and face masks have become the norm for many, but in the wake of a major hurricane, finding shelter, food and managing daily tasks becomes even more challenging.

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Patricia L. Harman

Patricia L. Harman is the editor-in-chief of Claims magazine, a contributing editor to PropertyCasualty360.com, and chairs the annual America's Claims Event (ACE), which focuses on providing claims professionals with cutting-edge education and networking opportunities. She covers auto, property & casualty, workers' compensation, fraud, risk and cybersecurity, and is a frequent speaker at insurance industry events. Contact her at [email protected]

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