Hurricane Laura Strengthens in the Gulf and Rekindles Dread From Past Storms

Mr. Abbott warned Texans to move swiftly to protect themselves and their property and to “be very aware” of surging water, which is predicted to engulf much of coastal East Texas. “It can easily sweep you away, causing you to lose your life,” the governor warned.

Laura was approaching the United States on the anniversary of another major Houston-area storm, Hurricane Harvey, which made landfall in Texas on Aug. 25, 2017, lashing the Gulf Coast with extensive flooding and causing nearly $125 billion in damage.

Still, Mr. Abbott, a Republican, said that Laura was not likely to be a “replica” of that earlier monster storm, and that it was expected to be more of a “wind event” than Harvey was. He said he expected that the resilience he saw in residents then would be on display again even in the face of considerable hardship.

“We were bruised, but we were not broken,” he said.

Even so, a sense of weariness has set in for many living on the coast, recalling the anguish of destroyed homes and neighborhoods and the thicket of bureaucracy and hard work that comes with recovery.

“I’ve been through so many of these,” said Jady Regard, who owns a pecan company with a shop based in New Iberia, La., near Lafayette. Mr. Regard, 51, said he planned to stay put but was keeping a close watch on the forecast. “If you live in Louisiana, it’s the price you pay.”

Rick Rojas reported from Baton Rouge, and Giulia McDonnell Nieto del Rio from Boston. Reporting was contributed by Ed Augustin, Henry Fountain, David Montgomery, Christina Morales and Campbell Robertson.


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