Hurricane Laura shuts down I-10 and numerous highways

August 27, 2020

Tyson Fisher

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Hurricane Laura reached landfall in the early morning of Thursday, Aug. 27, as a powerful Category 4 storm, leaving behind damaged structures, power outages and closed roadways, including Interstate 10.

At about 1 a.m. Thursday, Hurricane Laura made landfall in Louisiana near Lake Charles. Coming in as a Category 4 storm with sustained winds of about 150 mph, the storm has caused flooding in coastal areas, shutting down several highways.

The most significant closure is Interstate 10. In Louisiana, I-10 is shut down from the Texas/Louisiana border from the Atchafalaya Basin. The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development is directing traffic north to Interstate 20 via U.S. 61, Interstate 55 and Interstate 59.

At 10 a.m. Thursday, the Louisiana DOTD announced high water on the shoulder of Interstate 20 eastbound at Exit 5 near Greenwood in Caddo Parrish. As of Thursday morning, the interstate was still open. However, U.S. 80 should be used as an alternate route if necessary.

Interstate 10 in Texas remains open. The Texas Department of Transportation is rerouting motorists to US 96 to I-20 to access I-10 in Louisiana.

Additionally, a small portion of I-49 near Bayou Jean de Jean is closed. Numerous highways are also closed throughout Louisiana, including portions of state routes and U.S. highways. For updated closures, check 511LA.org.

On Monday, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued a regional emergency declaration. That declaration affects freight for emergency relief in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. For details, click here. Texas and Louisiana have both declared a state of emergency as well, suspending certain federal regulations for truckers providing directly for relief efforts.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Emergency Response Emergency Route Mobility Center has a routing hotline for approved operators providing directly for Hurricane Laura relief efforts: 833-99ROADS.

The hotline provides response personnel the most effective routes to take to impacted areas. Aggregating information from the public and private sectors, the service provides turn-by-turn directions. Although this service is not for public use, information about access to the Regional Disaster Routing Services can be found here.

Texas and Nevada have suspended registration, temporary permit, and oversize and overweight permit requirements for motor vehicles assisting with disaster relief due to Hurricane Laura, according to the International Registration Plan’s website.

According to social media posts from Tom Kloza, founder of Oil Price Information Service, fuel prices are not likely to be significantly affected.

As of 10:30 a.m. Thursday, more than 500,000 power outages were being reported in Louisiana and more than 100,000 outages in Texas.

How much destruction Hurricane Laura has caused remains to be seen as emergency crews continue relief efforts.

Hurricane Laura has maintained its hurricane status as of Thursday morning, well after making landfall. The storm maintained Category 4 status for a few hours before downgrading to Category 3 at around 3 a.m. By 10 a.m., the storm was still a Category 1 hurricane about 50 miles southeast of Shreveport.

According to the National Weather Service, Hurricane Laura will continue north across Louisiana Thursday afternoon. The center of the storm is forecast to move over Arkansas Thursday tonight. It will then move to the mid-Mississippi Valley on Friday and the mid-Atlantic states on Saturday. The storm will likely downgrade to a tropical storm (sustained winds of 39-73 mph) once it reaches Arkansas and remain a tropical depression (sustained winds below 39 mph) as it moves northeast throughout the United States.

Tyson Fisher

Tyson Fisher joined Land Line Magazine in March 2014. An award-winning journalist and tireless researcher, his news reports, features and blogs bring depth to our editorial content, backed with solid detail. Tyson is a lifelong Kansas Citian.