Hurricane Laura Bears Down On Gulf Coast With “Unsurvivable Storm Surge”; Evacuations Ordered & Productions Halted

As Hurricane Laura nears landfall as a massive Category 4 storm, some 1.5 million people in the Gulf Coast region are under evacuation orders ahead of what federal officials are describing as an “unsurvivable storm surge.”

Today co-anchor and weatherman Al Roker said on MSNBC this morning, “I’ve never seen that phrase coming from the National Hurricane Center.” He added that “entire neighborhoods could be wiped out.”

The National Hurricane Center said that Laura is packing maximum winds of 140 MPH and that “large and destructive waves will cause catastrophic damage” and “could penetrate up to 30 miles inland from the immediate coastline.” The storm is expected to make landfall overnight tonight.

The Weather Channel released a partially animated two-minute video showing how the expected storm surge and flooding could affect the region:

Meanwhile, two Amazon series and a low-budget indie film that recently had resumed shooting In New Orleans after the coronavirus shutdown have gone dark again. “Nothing’s shooting today because of the rain, and out of an abundance of caution,” said Carroll Morton, director of Film New Orleans, the city’s film office. “They’ll be shooting tomorrow. It’s not really much of a shutdown for them.”

The brunt of the storm is expected to miss the Crescent City and make landfall several hundred miles to the west closer to Galveston, Texas — site of the deadliest hurricane in U.S. history. That 1900 storm killed at least 6,000-8,000 people and laid waste to the city.

One of the Amazon projects, a reboot of the 2008 crime drama series Leverage, had been preparing to shoot in New Orleans when the pandemic shut down production in Louisiana and across the country. “They’re in production now,” Morton said. The other Amazon series, which Morton said is tentatively titled Black as Night, “was shooting here when the city shut down. They’re just resuming production.”

The indie film First Christmas, which also was stalled by the coronavirus shutdown, is expected to resume production Thursday, weather permitting.

Morton said that five or six additional series that were shooting or preparing to film in the city prior to the shutdown are expected to go into production by the end of September. “That’s what we’re anticipating,” she said.”

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