GRAND CHENIER, La. – Hurricane Laura made landfall in southwest Louisiana nearly three weeks ago. The category-four storm tied the record as the strongest hurricane to ever make landfall in Louisiana. While meteorologists forecasted a 15- to 20-foot storm surge from Laura.
National Weather Service meteorologist Jeffry Evans was part of a team that conducted a damage assessment to verify the storm surge in the region.
“We really need to know what happened so that we can go back and verify and by verifying we now how close our forecast was. It really helps us going forward to doing a better job in the future,” Evans said.
Laura’s fury drove water and mud into the second-floor bathroom of a home, which is 15 feet off the ground not counting the waves.
The team found bits of marsh, grass and debris 20 feet off the ground up in a tree.
“It’s what they call an unsurvivable storm surge," said Evans. "Had people stayed it would not have been survivable for people in those residences that we witnessed.”
The highest water markings were found in neighborhoods east of Grand Chenier in Cameron Parish, Louisiana.
As he assessed the damage and looked for those critical water line markers, Evans said he couldn’t help but think of the families that once called this community home.
“From a personal level, it hits you because you realize these are people’s homes. These are their belongings. So it’s a tough thing to go back and witness exactly what mother nature can really do,” he said.