Tornado destroys South Elton Court homes

Published 2:43 pm Wednesday, April 10, 2024

A EF-2 tornado touched down in Lake Charles Wednesday morning, destroying homes east of McNeese State University.

National Weather Service Office of Lake Charles Meterologist Donald Jones said the tornado hit from 6:38 a.m. to 6:42 a.m. with maximum winds of 155 mph, a max width of 250 yards and was on the ground for just over a mile.

“The tornado touched down near Vernon Road on the eastern side of McNeese State University and crossed Common, Center, Harvard and Kirkman streets before moving into the Moss Memorial Health Complex causing damage to roofing,” Jones said. “The tornado continued across Louisiana Avenue, where it further intensified destroying the roofs of several homes along Elton Court while also causing widespread tree and electrical damage.”

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Jones said the tornado weakened as it crossed Brentwood Lane before dissipating just east of Walton Street.

For residents on South Elton Court, the tornado left disaster in its wake. The closed-in community off of South Louisiana Avenue was victim to downed telephone poles, ripped roofs, and — for some — totaled homes.

District F Council member Craig Marks, who went out to survey the damage, asked residents to steer clear of the area while officials work to survey the damages and clear debris.

“We’re asking residents or any individuals to stay out for the time being because it’s very congested back here with the power lines being down and the damages to the houses.”

He confirmed that N. Elton Court was OK, and there have been no notifications of death or injuries.

“That’s the blessing in it,” he said.

Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter said the levels of disaster and damage were reminiscent of a hurricane, but isolated to one area.

“Unfortunately it was a little bit of PTSD for that neighborhood, and I feel for them,” Hunter said. “I know that so many of those individuals have been through so much, and my heart just hurts for them to have to go through something like this again.”

He said he cannot officially confirm how many homes were severely affected, but his best estimate is 10 houses.

Both Hunter and Marks said those in need of assistance can contact United Way of Southwest Louisiana by dialing 211. Those who wish to assist or donate to homeowners affected by the tornado can contact United Wa,y as well.

“One of the greatest attributes of this community is how we come together in the aftermath of disaster, and I know that this community will do the same. I expect people to come together to help their neighbors,” Hunter said.