GARYVILLE, La. -- The National Weather Service has confirmed a tornado touched down in St. John the Baptist Parish, damaging the Marathon refinery and some homes.
It has been raining on and off all day in the river parishes. Wednesday morning there were some scary moments for folks at Marathon and on the other side of the river as that tornado hopped the Mississippi touching down in two places.
The Marathon refinery bore the brunt of a small tornado that touched down in St. John Parish around 5:30 a.m.
“Without a doubt, I see tin blown to one side and then I turn and see it blown in another direction, so you can see rotation,” said Ken Graham of the National Weather Service. “It looks to me that it was 150 yards wide.”
Graham confirmed the twister was a EF-1 tornado with maximum winds of about 105 miles per hour.
A Marathon spokesman said one cooling tower is damaged, closing the processing unit it serves. He also said two refinery workers needed minor first aid.
Before moving across the river to the Marathon facility, the tornado hit Edgard on the west bank of the parish.
It knocked down tree and power lines and damaged homes and sheds.
“It was like a whistle, they say a train, but it was like a whistle. It was like a siren,” said Glynn Kendrick. “It came from the ground and whistled right across and my trailer, just moved with it. I was up. I was going to the closet. Then it stopped.”