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The Impact Of Hurricane Laura Overflowed In States Already Facing COVID-19 Disasters

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Hurricane Laura left parts of Orange County, Texas under water.
Lucio Vasquez | Houston Public Media
Hurricane Laura left parts of Orange County, Texas under water.

On this week’s Petrie Dish, we explore what happened in Louisiana and Southeast Texas when Hurricane Laura landed — and what other hurricane hotspots like Florida, Alabama and Mississippi can learn from the deadly storm.  

A hurricane presents its own kind of health emergency, but as the U.S. continues to grapple with the novel coronavirus, a hurricane mixed into a pandemic creates a whole new swirl of challenges. And this event may be only the beginning, as a typical hurricane season doesn’t end until November. 

Laura crash-landed on Louisiana’s southwest coast producing 150 mph winds, knocking out power in nearly 900,000 homes and killing at least 16 as of Aug. 30.

Texans got lucky with Hurricane Laura, as the damage was less severe in the Lone Star State than predicted. But evacuees who fled to Texas faced confusion and crowds. Information about hotel vouchers and free evacuation buses was spread slowly. The coronavirus, of course, wasn’t any less contagious.

Reported and Produced by: Bonnie Petrie, Dominic Anthony Walsh, Travis Lux, John Burnett, Joey Palacios, Elizabeth Trovall, Matt Harab, Sara Willa Ernst

Sound Design and Music: Jacob Rosati

Executive Producer: Fernanda Camarena 

Host: Bonnie Petrie 

Digital Producer: Bri Kirkham

TPR News Director: Dan Katz

This podcast is a production of Texas Public Radio, which was founded by and is supported by our community. If you value our commitment to the highest standards of responsible journalism and are able to do so, please consider making your gift of support today.