Hurricane Laura made landfall about an hour ago near Cameron, Louisiana.
The town is relatively low-lying, with only about 5 or 10 feet of elevation — meaning “It’s mostly completely underwater,” said CNN meteorologist Tom Sater.
“There will not be a chance to get to that area until late in the morning,” he added.
The eye of the storm is now moving over Lake Charles, lying further north. Already, the conditions have deteriorated severely; winds are howling, and storm chasers have reported glass being blown everywhere, and ears hurting from the low air pressure.
“Right now you can still hear the wind. It’s screaming through the cracks and crevasses of the building,” said CNN correspondent Martin Savidge from Lake Charles, where the CNN crew is taking refuge indoors.
“When you were outside, you literally felt the entire building as it was shuddering under the wind blow. So it’s taking a beating. And this is one of the strongest buildings in the area., it’s why we chose it.”
“All you hear is the roaring sound of a jet engine, and literally a world that is coming apart outside your windows,” he added.
The storm surge, heavy rainfall and powerful winds mean it’ll be near impossible to assess the damage until the morning — first responders won’t be able to travel in those conditions, and drones or aircraft won’t be able to get any aerial pictures. Roads will be submerged and power lines will have fallen, making transport or rescue efforts even harder.