After making landfall around 1 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 27, near Cameron, Louisiana, as a Category 4 Major Hurricane with 150 mph winds, Hurricane Laura continued north through Louisiana and Texas toward Arkansas, leaving devastating wind damage and flooding in its wake and spawning possible tornados.
Numerous highways and other roads remain closed in the path of the storm, including a stretch of Interstate 10 near the Louisiana-Texas border; the eastbound lanes are closed at the state line, and the westbound lanes are closed west of the Atchafalaya Basin. To detour the closure and avoid undrivable conditions, motorists should use U.S 61, Interstate 55 and Interstate 59 to travel north and connect with I-20, according to the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DODT).
In addition to floodwaters, downed trees and power lines create hazards for drivers and emergency crews. In Louisiana, drivers are encouraged to check www.511la.org or call 888-ROAD-511 (1-888-762-3511) for current road conditions and closings. In Texas, drivers can check drivetexas.org.
At 10 a.m. Thursday, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) tweeted three “key messages” regarding the passage of Hurricane Laura:
- Dangerous storm surge will result in elevated water levels for the next few hours along the Gulf Coast from Sabine Pass, Texas, to Port Fourchon, Louisiana. In some areas where surge penetrated far inland, flood waters will not fully recede for several days.
- Damaging winds will continue near the center of Laura over portions of northern Louisiana and Arkansas today and this evening.
- Widespread flash flooding along small streams, urban areas and roadways will continue across portions of Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas. Additional rainfall will also lead to minor to moderate freshwater river flooding. The heavy rainfall threat and flash and urban flooding potential will spread northeastward into the middle Mississippi, lower Ohio and Tennessee valleys, and mid-Atlantic states Friday and Saturday.
Hurricane, tornado, flood and storm warnings have been issued for many areas within the affected states. Laura is expected to take an easterly path across the U.S., passing through Kentucky, West Virginia, Kentucky and other states before veering slightly northward and dissipating off the coast of Canada early next week.
In anticipation of Laura’s path of destruction, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) on Aug. 24 declared a regional emergency for the states of Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Under the emergency declaration, drivers providing direct emergency response to the storms with the transport of food, supplies, equipment, fuel and persons are granted relief from Parts 390 through 399 of Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations, with certain restrictions. Among the regulations included in the relief are hours-of-service rules. Click here to read the declaration.
The Trucker News Staff produces engaging content for not only TheTrucker.com, but also The Trucker Newspaper, which has been serving the trucking industry for more than 30 years. With a focus on drivers, the Trucker News Staff aims to provide relevant, objective content pertaining to the trucking segment of the transportation industry. The Trucker News Staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.