On December 16, 2019, strong storms led to serious damage in areas of Louisiana and portions of southern Mississippi that are part of our viewing area. Homes and other property were destroyed, and lives were lost.
At approximately 10:39 a.m. on Monday, the National Weather Service issued a tornado watch for most of Louisiana effective until 6 p.m on the same day. Hail, wind and tornadoes were the primary threat. Hail could be the size of a ping pong ball. Widespread wind gusts could exceed 75 mph, and several tornadoes were likely. Wind gusts and tornadoes proved to be the most destructive of the three.
One of the first tornadoes in the state yesterday morning occurred in Webster Parish, according the the National Weather Service office in Shreveport. It had an EF1 rating and peak winds of 110 mph. The tornado was on the ground from 10:42 to 10:46, and in just four minutes, it traveled 3.63 miles and was 250 yards wide. Initial damage was recorded when the tornado crossed Mims Road. Near this location, hundreds of hardwood and softwood trees were uprooted. Then, two single family houses’ roofs and sheds were damaged near Evergreen School Road. The tornado then lifted off the ground and touched down near Highway 159. There, it picked up a mobile home and carried it for 50 yards. The home was destroyed when it landed. After that, the tornado lifted again and carried debris into Claiborne Parish.
Two of the hardest hit places were DeRidder and Alexandria. A tornado warning was issued for DeRidder at 11 a.m. At 12:26 p.m., one was issued for Alexandria, and 16 minutes later, that warning became an emergency. A tornado was confirmed and caused destruction from DeRidder to Alexandria. According to a preliminary report from the National Weather Service office in Lake Charles, the path length was 63 miles long. The Vernon Parish Sheriff’s Office shared on Facebook that the tornado resulted in structural damage to several churches, homes and buildings. It also caused fallen trees and downed power lines. Among all that was damaged was a mobile home in which a resident was killed.
In Amite County, Mississippi, an EF2 tornado with a peak wind speed of 135 mph touched down at 2:30 p.m and lasted for 32 minutes According to the National Weather Service office in New Orleans. It first touched down in Compromise and lifted a metal roof, back porch and carport off a home before travelling northeastward and across County Road 567. There, it tore off the roofing material of a few single family homes and removed and destroyed a wide manufactured home. The tornado continued northeastward across Freeman and Dixon roads and lifted a home from its foundation and caused it to collide with a tree. At this location, three injuries were reported. The injured were pinned under debris after being carried by the tornado. Next, the tornado continued its northeastern track to Pecan Orchard home where it tore down the metal roof and parts of the chimney of a home. Meadville Road ad Coleman Road were the next places hit. Trees were snapped at the location and near Reeves Road and Fenn Road. The tornado tore off part of a metal roof and carport of a home. The tornado snapped trees as it traveled along Butler Road Southeast. The last stop in the county that the tornado hit was Branch Road where trees were snapped. It then moved into Lincoln County, Mississippi.
The National Weather Service office in New Orleans reported that an EF1 tornado made landfall in the eastern portion of the state in the afternoon. This one took place in Tangipahoa Parish from 3:46 p.m. until 3:49 p.m. Winds peaked at 105 mph. The path was 1.35 miles, and the tornado was 50 yards wide. It first touched down near the intersection of Highway 440 and Fannie Powell Road. The storm traveled northeastward, crossed into the northwest portion of Washington Parish and then crossed Highway 450. Trees along the tornado’s path were snapped. Part of one home’s tin roof was peeled. The tornado finally lifted after passing Highway 450. The same storm that produced this tornado had an associated mesocyclone that caused 11 miles of damage in Walthall County. Trees and tree limbs were damaged, but because the destruction was sporadic and without rotation, the National Weather Service did not identify a tornado there.
The tornadoes skipped most of the state and portions of the viewing area, but severe thunderstorms did occur. Much of the state saw rain ahead of this cold front that left us with cold temperatures.