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Hurricane Laura update: Gulf Coast slammed by wall of seawater; teen girl is 1st reported fatality
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Hurricane Laura update: Gulf Coast slammed by wall of seawater; teen girl is 1st reported fatality

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LAKE ARTHUR, La. (AP) — Hurricane Laura pounded the Gulf Coast with ferocious wind and torrential rain and unleashed a wall of seawater that could push 40 miles inland as the Category 4 storm roared ashore Thursday in Louisiana near the Texas border.

Early reports emerging in the wake of Hurricane Laura show less damage than what was feared.

See photos from the storm's path in a gallery at the end of this story

Laura battered a tall building in Lake Charles, blowing out windows as glass and debris flew to the ground. Police spotted a floating casino that came unmoored and hit a bridge. But hours after the hurricane made landfall, the wind and rain were still blowing too hard for authorities to check for survivors.

Gov. John Bel Edwards said he’s received a report of the first fatality from Hurricane Laura in Louisiana, a 14-year-old girl who died when a tree fell on her home.

“We know anyone that stayed that close to the coast, we’ve got to pray for them, because looking at the storm surge, there would be little chance of survival,” Louisiana Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser told ABC’s Good Morning America.

With nearly 470,000 homes and businesses without power in the two states, near-constant lightning provided the only light for some.

The National Hurricane Center said Laura slammed the coast with winds of 150 mph at 1 a.m. CDT near Cameron, a 400-person community about 30 miles east of the Texas border. Forecasters had warned that the storm surge would be “unsurvivable” and the damage “catastrophic.”

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Photos: Scenes from the Gulf Coast

Photos from Laura's path so far:

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