10 tornadoes confirmed during Wednesday’s severe weather event

Published 6:55 pm Friday, April 12, 2024

The National Weather Service’s Lake Charles office has confirmed 10 tornadoes touched down in the Southwest Louisiana-Southeast Texas area during Wednesday’s severe weather event.

Meteorologist Donald Jones said two EF-2 and eight EF-1 tornadoes have been identified.

The first of the EF-2 tornadoes was about 250 yards wide and traveled a little over a mile from the McNeese State University area and through Elton Court. Peak winds were reported at 115 mph.

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The second EF-2 tornado was confirmed in Port Arthur, Texas. The twister traveled nearly 3 miles, was 300 yards wide and had recorded winds of 120 mph.

Lake Charles also experienced a second tornado — this one an EF-1 tornado with 100 mph winds — that traveled from Ryan Street to Doolan Lane in central Lake Charles, Jones said.

The other tornadoes were reported in Cameron Parish; Church Point; Holmwood; Ardoin Cove; Thistlewaite, Texas; Port Arthur, Texas; and Texas Highway 103.

On Friday, the Louisiana Department of Health confirmed one storm-related death in Rapides Parish. The Rapides Parish coroner said a 60-year-old female died after a tree and power line fell on her home outside of Pineville.

Cleco said it has restored power to half of the customers who remained without power following Wednesday’s severe weather that disrupted utilities for nearly 45,000 customers statewide.

“Late yesterday afternoon, we had roughly 20,000 customers without power,” said Clint Robichaux, director of distribution operations and reliability. “Last night, we restored power to half of those customers.”

As work progresses on the third day of restoration, Entergy Louisiana cranes and track equipment are being heavily utilized as utility crews narrow in on repairs and rebuild work being made in rural fields and densely wooded areas, said communications manager Brandon Scardigli. 

“Although approximately 4,000 customers remain without power following Wednesday’s storms that brought high winds and spawned multiple tornadoes, Entergy’s storm team has restored power to most customers and plan to have nearly all customers who can safely accept service back online by tonight,” Scardigli said.