(CNN)The backbone to Louisiana’s power grid suffered catastrophic damage after Hurricane Laura barreled ashore, killing at least 12 people in the state.
Laura crumpled homes and ripped away power lines, with nearly 360,000 customers still in the dark days after it hit Thursday. Entergy, which serves Louisiana and Texas, says the damage to its high-voltage transmission lines and other key infrastructure is some of the most severe the company has ever experienced. Customers cannot get power until this critical part of the system is restored, and damage is so extensive in some areas that it will need to be rebuilt from the ground up.”We expect the recovery to be as difficult and challenging as we have ever faced in the past. Customers should expect extended power outages lasting weeks,” Phillip May, the president and CEO of Entergy Louisiana, said in a statement Saturday.
In terms of wind speed, Hurricane Laura is the strongest storm to hit Louisiana since the mid-1800s. Sustained winds of 150 mph knocked down thousands of utility poles across Louisiana. We took flight to assess the damages, including along Gerstner Memorial Drive in Lake Charles. pic.twitter.com/eqfDzvCnFO
— Entergy Louisiana (@EntergyLA) August 30, 2020 Read MoreTransmission lines act as the interstate system for electricity, allowing companies to carry electricity generated by power plants to main power lines that feed into communities. More than 29,000 lineworkers from 29 states, DC and Canada, according to an email from the Edison Electric Institute, have settled into the region to help restore power to those affected by the strongest hurricane to hit Louisiana in 164 years. Despite the large contingent of crews, the restoration can’t come quick enough.The National Weather Service has issued heat advisories for southwest Louisiana, which includes hard-hit Lake Charles, and east Texas, where it could feel as hot as 110 degrees Fahrenheit on Sunday afternoon. Residents are reverting to generators to try and beat the heat without electricity. It’s paramount to operate the generator correctly to keep families safe. Of the 12 storm-related deaths, officials have said at least two were from carbon monoxide poisoning while trying to use generators during power outages.
— EEI (@Edison_Electric) August 29, 2020 Carbon monoxide is odorless and can be dangerous indoors if used without proper ventilation. Generators should be used outdoors and placed away from windows, doors and vents that can allow carbon monoxide inside, according to the Louisiana Department of Health.Laura no longer poses a threat to the US and has since dissipated. NHC’s 5-Day Atlantic Hurricane OutlookThe National Hurricane Center’s eyes are now on three other areas in the Atlantic for tropical development. None of which pose an immediate threat to the US but need to be watched closely. The peak of hurricane season is Sept. 10.