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NWS: Three tornadoes hit Ouachita Parish on Easter Sunday

Source: Cliff Palmer
Source: Cliff Palmer(KNOE)
Published: Apr. 14, 2020 at 10:09 AM CDT
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The National Weather Service is now saying that three confirmed tornadoes hit Ouachita Parish on Sunday, April 12, 2020.

The tornadoes all happened just before noon. No fatalities were reported as a result of the tornadoes. Officials estimate a total of 458 homes across the parish were impacted by the three tornadoes. 23 homes were destroyed, 108 had major damage, 243 with minor damage, and another 84 homes were affected across the parish.

The NWS released the following report on the tornadoes.

EF3 Tornado in Monroe/West Monroe

Estimated peak wind: 140 mph

Path length /statute/: 8.03 miles

Path width /maximum/: 300.0 yards

Date: 04/12/2020

Time: 11:36 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.

Summary: The tornado first touched down on the corner of Fern St. and Brown St. in the Brownsville-Bawcomville community. As it moved through neighborhoods, it downed and snapped hundreds of trees, many of which fell onto homes. As the tornado crossed Sandal St., it did minor structure damage to several single wide manufactured homes before tipping over a trailer as it crossed Jonesboro Rd. The tornado then proceeded onward to break the metal trusses and bring down a wood chip conveyor belt onto a train at a paper mill. As the tornado continued, it crossed the Ouachita River twice where it bends sharply before increasing intensity along Riverbend Dr. This increase in intensity was most notable from many tree trunks snapped, the roof ripped off of a single family home and a collapsed wall on another single family home.

The tornado then crossed the Ouachita River again and partially damaged the roof of the Masur Museum of Art, missing downtown Monroe by roughly a mile. As it crossed South Grand St., it then ripped the roof off of a two story home and continued on to damage the roofs of several homes and downed trees until it crossed near the intersection of Highway 165 and Interstate 20. There it damaged a metal building structure and snapped a wooden power pole and steel street light assembly as it crossed Milhaven Rd.

The worst damage from the tornado then occurred along Orchid Dr. where it ripped the roof off of 3 homes and collapsed much of the exterior walls of one of the homes. The worst damage was along a very narrow corridor in this subdivision and is believed that a mesovortex within the tornado led to this narrow corridor of more intense damage. After the tornado moved out of this subdivision, damage became more sporadic and the tornado touched several times before it destroyed a metal hangar housing several airplanes at the Monroe Regional Airport. The tornado then lifted as it crossed a runway of the airport.

EF2 Tornado southwest of Sterlington

Estimated peak wind: 130 mph

Path length /statute/: 2.71 miles

Path width /maximum/: 400.0 yards

Date: 04/12/2020

Time: 11:39 a.m. - 11:43 a.m.

Summary: The tornado first touched down in a forested area near Horseshoe Lake Rd, uprooting hundreds of trees. Winds increased and tree damage became more widespread as trees were uprooted, snapped, and even a tree partially debarked off of End of Line Rd. The tornado took the roof off of two single family homes and destroyed an outbuilding along End of Line Rd. It then damaged shingles of approximately ten houses as it tracked along Lonewa Lane and Rose Plantation Lane. Along Lonewa Lane, the tornado snapped four concrete poles before lifting just before it crossed Keystone Rd.

EF1 Tornado southeast of Sterlington

Estimated peak wind: 105 mph

Path length /statute/: 1.15 miles

Path width /maximum/: 50.0 yards

Date: 04/12/2020

Time: 11:46 a.m. - 11:48 a.m.

A tornado briefly touched down in Fairbanks along the corner of John Turner Rd. and Highway 134. It continued on to cross Highway 134 again and Curtis Rd. before lifting. Approximately 30 trees were uprooted and snapped in a convergent pattern along the path.

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NWS says this information is preliminary and subject to change.

They also offered the following thanks:

A special thanks goes out to the Ouachita Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (OHSEP) for their assistance in the survey. Initial estimates from Ouachita OHSEP indicate that a total of 458 homes across the parish were impacted by the three tornadoes. 23 homes were destroyed, 108 had major damage, 243 with minor damage, and another 84 homes were affected across the parish.
Much appreciation goes out to the University of Louisiana-Monroe Atmospheric Science Program for making adjustments to the ULM radar scanning strategy in coordination with our office prior to storms hitting north-central and northeast Louisiana. This action prior to the tornadoes hitting Ouachita Parish allowed for warning forecasters to have critical information which led to additional lead-time on the Monroe tornado.

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