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Buildings and homes are flooded in Cameron, Louisiana, in the aftermath of Hurricane Laura. Photo: David J. Phillip via AP

A rare relief in the 2020 grind: The worst-case scenario hasn't yet come to pass with Hurricane Laura.

The state of play: The storm surge in Louisiana was 9 to 10 feet vs. the possibility of 20, and wind damage is easier to repair than massive flooding.

  • The death toll currently stands at four, and Interstate 10 is closed because a casino riverboat is jammed under one of its bridges.

The big picture: This was still a monster Category 4 hurricane at landfall.

  • “It looks like 1,000 tornadoes went through here. It’s just destruction everywhere,” Brett Geymann told the AP.
  • 600,000 people are without power, and 100,000 are potentially without access to clean water.

There's a “chlorine gas chemical fire” near Lake Charles, Louisiana, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports.

  • Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards issued a shelter in place order as a result of the fire, telling residents to close windows and doors and turn off their A/C units.

What they're saying: "Just about the entire state saw Tropical Storm-force winds," Edwards said Thursday. "That's how big and powerful this storm was."

  • Texas Gov. Greg Abbott told reporters on that his state saw the most significant damage in Orange County.
  • "You saw more rooftops ripped off, you saw more shingles missing, you saw more trees down, you saw big pieces of steel framing wrapped around some trees. You saw some roads that were still inundated with water, impassable at this particular time," Abbott said.

What's next: FEMA said on Wednesday that it planned to move 500,000 meals and 800,000 liters of water into Louisiana, and would keep 250,000 meals and 400,000 liters of water at its Fort Worth distribution center for either state.

  • Flood-level rainfall and tropical-storm force winds are expected for Arkansas, after Laura passed near the Louisiana-Arkansas border around 1 p.m. on Thursday.

Go deeper

Updated Nov 10, 2020 - Science

Theta becomes 29th named storm in record hurricane season

A satellite image of Subtropical Storm Theta. Photo: National Hurricane Center/Twitter

Subtropical Storm Theta formed in the Northeast Atlantic Monday night, becoming the 29th named storm of the 2020 hurricane season, the National Hurricane Center confirmed.

Why it matters: The formation of Theta, which was some 995 miles southwest of the Azores overnight, breaks the record for the most named storms in a season — set in 2005. The World Meteorological Organization sets 21 alphabetical names for every season (excluding Q,U, X, Y and Z). This is the second time ever it's used all and had to turn to the Greek alphabet.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with further context on the hurricane season.

2 hours ago - Health

NYC to impose vaccine mandate on private employers

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) on Monday announced a new COVID vaccine mandate for all private companies.

Why it matters: De Blasio, speaking on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," said the "first-in-the-nation measure" will go into effect starting Dec. 27. It will apply to approximately 184,000 businesses.

D.C.-Beijing tensions are shifting markets

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

U.S. markets stand to lose $2 trillion in value if D.C. and Beijing drift further apart.

Why it matters: Political chasms are showing up in new securities regulations that put companies and investors in a bind. The rules are also another reflection of how much relations between the world’s largest economies have cooled, even as they remain economically interdependent.