Destructive Tornadoes Rip Across Louisiana

By By Meghan Evans, Meteorologist
March 08, 2011, 6:40:22 AM EST

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Severe storms, some of which were spawning destructive tornadoes, ripped through Louisiana on Saturday.

An EF0 tornado touch down was confirmed 2 miles NNW of Crowley, located in Acadia Parish, around 10 a.m. CST. The twister was 25 yards wide, and caused a two-mile path of extensive damage.

The storm that produced the tornado continued to moved northeastward, where it pummeled Rayne. This storm was a confirmed EF2 tornado that passed through. The twister was 300 yards wide and caused a 5 mile path of damage.

A dozen people were injured and one woman was killed in Rayne, while many houses and other buildings suffered severe damage in the path of the tornado. A car wash building collapsed as the twister tore through the area.

The damage included two ruptured gas lines which led to hundreds of evacuations. According to KATC, the Sheriff's Office in northwest Rayne was among the places being evacuated.


Another rain-wrapped tornado was observed 4 miles southeast of Baton Rouge, a few hours later.

Damage that may have also been caused by a tornado occurred in Schriever. Power lines were downed in this community.

In Lafitte, trailers were severely damaged and destroyed and trees were snapped. Small tree branches were downed by 55 mph winds in Terrytown, as the storms spread farther east.

Meanwhile, some of the most violent thunderstorms were producing pea-to-penny-sized hail.

Very heavy rain also poured down from the thunderstorms, causing localized flash flooding. Some communities, including Lake Charles, were inundated by over 3 inches of rain.

300x199_03062044_ap110306032514 Meteorologist Bill Deger warned of the severe weather threat for the I-10 corridor of the central Gulf Coast early Saturday morning. He noted that those celebrating Mardis Gras in New Orleans were at risk for getting hit by the nasty thunderstorms.

Severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings were issued for New Orleans during the afternoon hours as violent storms rolled through. The storms sent people running for cover, while umbrellas were no help in protecting from the drenching downpours as the gusty winds blew them inside out.

Over two inches over rain doused the Louis Armstrong New Orleans Airport in 45 minutes.

The Endymion parade in New Orleans was postponed until Sunday, according to the Times-Picayune.

The severe thunderstorms will shift east through Sunday, targeting the Southeast Coast.

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