Videos on social media show heavy winds and rain battering a tall building in Lake Charles, Louisiana, blowing out windows and littering glass and debris into the air and onto the ground as Hurricane Laura moves over southwestern Louisiana.
More than 290,000 homes and businesses were without power in Texas and Louisiana, as near-constant lightning provided the only light for some. Officials say search and rescue missions will begin as soon as conditions allow, along with damage assessments.
The damage was observed in Lake Charles, which is about 45 miles (72 kilometers) north of where the storm made landfall in Cameron early Thursday.
Other videos from the area show road signs bending, trees shaking violently and a large recreational vehicle being blown over.