Hurricane Laura slammed ashore about 1 a.m. Thursday as one of the strongest hurricanes ever to strike the U.S. based on its wind speed of 150 mph. Powerful gusts blew out windows in tall buildings in Lake Charles, blew off roofs and took down trees and powerlines from the coast to more than 100 miles inland.
“It looks like 1,000 tornadoes went through here. It’s just destruction everywhere,`` said Brett Geymann, who rode out the storm with three family members in Moss Bluff, near Lake Charles. He described Laura passing over his house with the roar of a jet engine around 2 a.m.
“There are houses that are totally gone. They were there yesterday, but now gone,” he said.
Police spotted a floating casino that came unmoored and hit a bridge. Drone video showed water surrounding homes with much of their roofs peeled away. Gov. John Bel Edwards reported Louisiana’s first fatality -- a 14-year-old girl who died when a tree fell on her home in Leesville, more than 100 miles inland.
Scroll through the photos above to see some of the first images of damage after the sun came up Thursday.