ORANGE, Texas — The destructive storm surge has receded, and the cleanup has begun from Hurricane Laura that roared ashore early Thursday, packing 150 mph winds.
The U.S. toll from the Category 4 hurricane rose to 16 deaths Saturday, with more than half of those killed by carbon monoxide poisoning from the unsafe operation of generators. The latest deaths included an 80-year-old woman and an 84-year-old man who died from just such a poisoning.
President Donald Trump toured the damage in Louisiana and Texas on Saturday and received briefings on relief efforts.
White House spokesman Judd Deere said Trump traveled “to be with those who have been impacted by Hurricane Laura.”
As Air Force One came in for landing in hard-hit Lake Charles, Louisiana, Trump got a bird's eye view of the extensive damage, the smashed houses, downed power lines and trees, and debris strewn across the region.
“It was a tremendously powerful storm,” Trump said as he met with officials and relief workers during his two-hour visit, but not with any of the residents whose homes had been ripped apart in the storm.
The president then flew by helicopter to Orange, Texas, which was the worst-hit area in the state. Several hundred supporters greeted his arrival with Trump 2020 flags, banners and signs. Among the officials on hand were Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.
Before a flyover to view damaged areas, Trump and other officials visited the emergency operations center in Orange County to discuss storm damage and the government response. He flew back to Washington, D.C. on Saturday evening.