(CNN)Louisiana officials are warning those who didn’t evacuate from mandatory zones before Hurricane Laura hit that rescue efforts won’t start until the surge has passed.
“Those choosing to stay and face this very dangerous storm must understand that rescue efforts cannot and will not begin until after storm and surge has passed and it is safe to do so,” the Vermilion Parish Sheriff’s Office said in a statement Thursday. Hurricane Laura makes landfall in the US“Please evacuate, and if you choose to stay and we can’t get to you, write your name, address, social security number and next of kin and put it a Ziploc bag in your pocket. Praying that it does not come to this.”With winds 150 mph strong, Laura made landfall near Cameron, Louisiana, as a Category 4 storm early Thursday morning. It has since weakened to a Category 3 storm, with winds at 120 mph.The storm is tied with a hurricane from more than 160 years ago for the strongest storm to hit the state. The 1856 hurricane also had winds of 150 mph when it made landfall. Photos: Hurricane Laura makes landfallThis photo of Hurricane Laura was taken from aboard the International Space Station on August 26.Hide Caption 1 of 24 Photos: Hurricane Laura makes landfallA flattened structure is seen near a beach in Lake Charles, Louisiana, as the eye wall of hurricane Laura passes over on Thursday, August 27.Hide Caption 2 of 24 Photos: Hurricane Laura makes landfallA single truck is parked in an open lot as heavy rains from hurricane Laura fall in Lake Charles, Louisiana, on August 26.Hide Caption 3 of 24 Photos: Hurricane Laura makes landfallShrimp boat Sea Lion V prepares for Hurricane Laura’s landfall on August 26.Hide Caption 4 of 24 Photos: Hurricane Laura makes landfallVictoria Nelson lines up her children, Autum Nelson, 2, Shawn Nelson, 7, and Asia Nelson, 6, as they board a bus to evacuate Lake Charles, Louisiana, ahead of Hurricane Laura’s landfall August 26.Hide Caption 5 of 24 Photos: Hurricane Laura makes landfallA sheriff’s deputy wipes his face while manning a roadblock in Lake Charles, Louisiana, on August 26.Hide Caption 6 of 24 Photos: Hurricane Laura makes landfallFamilies line up to board buses to evacuate Lake Charles on August 26.Hide Caption 7 of 24 Photos: Hurricane Laura makes landfallChildren play at the Circuit of the Americas racetrack, where some evacuees were settling in Austin, Texas, on August 26.Hide Caption 8 of 24 Photos: Hurricane Laura makes landfallDemeteri Bushnell is hugged by her great-niece as they and other evacuees prepare to board a bus in Lake Charles.Hide Caption 9 of 24 Photos: Hurricane Laura makes landfallTraffic is at a near-standstill on Interstate 10 as people evacuate the region near Jennings, Louisiana, on Tuesday, August 25.Hide Caption 10 of 24 Photos: Hurricane Laura makes landfallA US Postal Service employee covers a mailbox with plastic wrap in Galveston, Texas. The plastic wrap signals that the final mail has been cleared from the box, and it prevents people from placing mail inside that could be lost in a flood.Hide Caption 11 of 24 Photos: Hurricane Laura makes landfallAn evacuee waits to board a bus in Port Arthur, Texas, on August 25.Hide Caption 12 of 24 Photos: Hurricane Laura makes landfallNick Gaido, left, helps board up windows at his seafood restaurant in Galveston.Hide Caption 13 of 24 Photos: Hurricane Laura makes landfallRoman Tatriot, with the help of family and friends, rounds up cattle in Cameron, Louisiana, so he can get them to higher ground.Hide Caption 14 of 24 Photos: Hurricane Laura makes landfallA family walks to a charter bus that would take them from Galveston Island to Austin.Hide Caption 15 of 24 Photos: Hurricane Laura makes landfallKaty Gay carries a dog as the Houston SPCA transferred more than 100 animals to the Austin Humane Society.Hide Caption 16 of 24 Photos: Hurricane Laura makes landfallPeople wait to board a bus to leave Galveston.Hide Caption 17 of 24 Photos: Hurricane Laura makes landfallPeople make sandbags at St. Raymond Church in New Orleans.Hide Caption 18 of 24 Photos: Hurricane Laura makes landfallPeople tie down their vessels along Louisiana’s Lake Pontchartrain on Sunday, August 23.Hide Caption 19 of 24 Photos: Hurricane Laura makes landfallPeople stand in long lines before entering a New Orleans Costco to pick up supplies.Hide Caption 20 of 24 Photos: Hurricane Laura makes landfallMichael Kent moves his boat in Venice, Louisiana, on August 23.Hide Caption 21 of 24 Photos: Hurricane Laura makes landfallCrews bring sandbags to help with flooding prevention in Belle Chasse, Louisiana.Hide Caption 22 of 24 Photos: Hurricane Laura makes landfallCesar Reyes, right, carries a sheet of plywood as he helps install window coverings at a business in Galveston.Hide Caption 23 of 24 Photos: Hurricane Laura makes landfallHouston firefighters prepare rescue equipment in advance of the storm.Hide Caption 24 of 24Read MoreBefore Hurricane Laura struck, water levels were rising rapidly along the coast, and forecasters warned of an “unsurvivable” storm surge of up to 20 feet and devastating winds. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards predicted parts of his state will be submerged.The expected tidal surge will probably keep authorities from making it into the parish, where roughly 150 residents chose not to evacuate, until Friday or Saturday, the Cameron Parish, Louisiana, Assistant Director of Emergency Preparedness, Ashley Buller, told CNN. Free bus transportation was provided to Lake Charles, Louisiana, residents who wanted to take shelter out of town. Mayor Nic Hunter told CNN’s Chris Cuomo late Wednesday night that authorities “did everything humanly possible to get the message to people,” but he said he is afraid not enough people evacuated.