On Thursday August 26, 2020, Hurricane Laura made landfall in Cameron, Louisiana. It was not the first hurricane of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, but it was considered the first major storm of the year. The category 4 storm had maximum sustained wind speeds of 150 mph, making it the strongest hurricane to make landfall in Louisiana since the 1856 Last Island Hurricane. It also made history by cracking the top 10 strongest hurricanes in US history, in 10th place.
Hurricane Laura History and Preparation
Hurricane Laura began as a large tropical wave off the west African coast. It later strengthened to a tropical depression on August 20, then to a tropical storm one day later. At this point, most forecasters predicted that Laura would be a category 2 or 3 hurricane by the time it made landfall in the United States, but they were quickly proven wrong. The storm intensified by 65 mph in only 24 hours and strengthened to a category 4 hurricane in near record time. As the storm ramped up, The National Hurricane Center warned of a potentially “unsurvivable” storm surge and urged residents along the Texas and Louisiana coasts to evacuate. Authorities in Cameron parish, Louisiana, where the storm made landfall, ordered a mandatory evacuation.
The Aftermath of Hurricane Laura
Hurricane Laura has caused devastating damage in its wake. In the US, the storm killed 24 people and injured hundreds more. The high winds and storm surge took down trees and power lines, which caused extensive property damage. Most of the damage was concentrated around the area where the storm made landfall, in Louisiana and southeast Texas. Hurricane Laura left over a million people without power. Officials estimated it could be weeks or months before services resume, partly due to the complete destruction to power grids in some areas. Additionally, damage to water delivery systems left over 200,000 people without drinking water.
Damage by the Numbers
CoreLogic released an early loss estimate of between 8 and 12 billion dollars. Most of the damage is concentrated in Louisiana. Texas damages are estimated to be in the neighborhood of $500,000. Another analytics firm estimated the total economic impact of around 20 billion. These loss estimates are lower than what experts originally feared as the storm approached. There are a few reasons for this. First, the storm made landfall in a relatively sparsely populated area. According to Curtis McDonald, meteorologist and senior product manager of CoreLogic, “There is never a good place for a hurricane to make landfall. But this was the best possible outcome because it spared the major population centers of Houston and New Orleans.” The storm also weakened significantly as it moved inland, sparing more major population areas from flooding.
Make a Difference as a Licensed Claims Adjuster
When you make the decision to become a licensed claims adjuster, you are signing on to make a difference in people’s lives when they are at their most vulnerable. In the aftermath of storms like Hurricane Laura, an insurance claims adjuster is often the first touchpoint for home and business owners on the path to getting their lives back. Your skill, organization, and timely help is the first step to reclaiming homes and businesses. If you are ready to find fulfillment in a new career as an insurance adjuster, we are here to help you get started. We have all the courses and training you need to get licensed and get out in the field. And with our online learning model, you can start today. Visit our courses page to learn more.