Hundreds of thousands of utility customers in Louisiana and Texas are without power today, as Hurricane Laura hit the region as an extremely dangerous” Category 4 storm before slowly weakening to a tropical storm by midday, knocking down power lines in its path.
According to NPR, the southwestern Louisiana parishes of Calcasieu, Cameron, and Jefferson Davis also saw more than 100,000 customers without power.
Ahead of the storm, about 10,000 people evacuated from Texas, mostly along the southeast coast and the border with Louisiana, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott told ABC’s Good Morning America. He emphasized that those early evacuations saved lives.
According to ISHN – Industrial Safety and Hygiene News –
- Have a qualified electrician inspect any water-damaged electrical equipment and electronics. Electrical items, such as circuit breakers, fuses, GFCIs, receptacles, plugs and switches, can malfunction when water and silt get inside. Discard them if they have been submerged;
- If flooding has occurred, have a qualified electrician inspect your electrical system;
- Do not touch a circuit breaker or replace a fuse with wet hands or while standing on a wet surface;
- Report and stay away from downed power lines and always assume they are energized. Never touch a person or object that is in direct or indirect contact with a downed power line, such as a fence, tree limb or water. Instead, call 911 immediately;
- Avoid flooded areas as they may be electrified. Even non-conductive materials like wood or cloth that are slightly wet can conduct electricity; and
- If you smell gas, notify emergency authorities immediately. Do not turn on lights, light matches, or engage in any activity that could create a spark.
Experts say that submerged outlets or electrical cords may energize standing water. Do not enter a flooded area until it has been determined safe to do so by a professional.