Hurricane Laura has claimed the lives of at least three individuals, including a teenage girl in Louisiana, officials reported Thursday morning.
The first reported fatality was a 14-year-old girl who died after a wind-swept tree fell on her home in Leesburg, Louisiana, Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) announced during a news conference Thursday.
That news was followed by reports of two more deaths that occurred under similar circumstances.
"One man died in Acadia Parish and another in Jackson Parish after trees fell on their homes," the Louisiana Office of Emergency Preparedness said, according to NBC News.
Edwards and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R), whose state was also hit hard by the hurricane, said Thursday that search and rescue teams are continuing to look for people who may have been trapped or injured by the storm.
Both governors added that no widespread casualties have been reported so far and that it appears, at least initially, that the storm surge was not as bad as they feared.
The National Hurricane Center had warned Wednesday that Laura's landfall would be "unsurvivable" and "catastrophic" for the Louisiana-Texas coast.
Sure enough, the Category 4 hurricane was one of the most powerful to ever hit the continental United States, rocking the coast with winds up to 150 mph. The coast caught a break regarding the storm surge, however, which was projected to be as high as 20 feet but ended up coming in at 11 feet.
Abbott credited the low casualty count to the thousands of residents who listened to advice from officials and evacuated the coast.
Wreckage from the storm is expected to be significant, however. On Thursday morning, several harrowing images of the storm and its aftermath emerged on social media.
Of course, it will be days and possibly weeks until the full extent of the damage is assessed.
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