NEW ORLEANS — Six people have been killed, at least four of them by falling trees across Louisiana as Hurricane Laura made landfall along the Gulf Coast early Thursday.
A 14-year-old girl in Vernon Parish was killed when a tree fell into her home and a 60-year-old man in Acadia Parish was killed when a tree fell on him during Laura, A third person was also killed by a falling tree in Jackson Parish, the governor's office confirmed. At his afternoon press briefing Thursday, Edwards said a fourth person was killed. That death was in one of the three parishes where another person was killed.
Edwards said that none of the first four deaths from falling trees were in the southwest corner of the state where Laura came ashore, showing the danger in the storm in places that aren't directly hit.
Christina Stephens, the spokesperson for Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, said the girl’s death was the first reported death caused by the storm in the United States. The girl lived in Vernon Parish.
“We do expect that there could be more fatalities,” Stephens said.
Laura is still a Category 2 hurricane as it moves deeper into Louisiana, six hours after making landfall as a Category 4 storm. Authorities say it's still a dangerous system.
Forecasters predicted an unsurvivable storm surge along a stretch of coastline from Port Arthur, Texas, to points east of Lake Charles, Louisiana. More than 580,000 residents were ordered to evacuate.
Rescuers have to wait for winds to die down before looking for survivors.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency says resources are in place to help in the weeks and months ahead.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.