Residents describe 'terrifying' tornadoes in St. Tammany

Ashley Rodrigue talks to residents about two EF-1 tornadoes that touched down on the Northshore.

MADISONVILLE-  When the thunder rolled into St. Tammany Parish early Monday morning, Kari Johnson heard something more from her home in the Pine Creek subdivision.

"Sometime between 4-4:30 this morning, my husband and I woke up to a freight train noise," she said, "We said what is that?! We got up, grabbed the kids and then started getting the alerts on our phones that a tornado warning was in effect."

They would later find their children's play set moved a few feet and smashed in their backyard. 

In other parts of the neighborhood, trampolines were moved or thrown and trees were either snapped or uprooted completely.

Pine Creek sits a quarter of a mile from a home on Highway 22 where half of the roof was ripped off.  Half a mile from that is Oak Park Road where the Cauble family got a scare and a soaked closet.

"We were in my room, my mother and I. We heard a transformer blow out, so we left my room," recalled Mandeville High student Heaven Cauble, "Went and took shelter in the bathroom and we heard another loud boom. That's when we realized that a tree had fallen on my room."

National Weather Service investigators said all of that was part of the path of an EF-1 tornado; the first of two in St. Tammany spawned by the storms.

Investigators said the twister in Madisonville began minutes after 4 a.m., and was about 50 yards wide with 100 m.p.h. winds. The damage from it stretched more than a mile.

Investigators said store-front damage near the corner of Highway 190 and I-12 was likely caused by straight line winds at the same time the second ED-1 tornado, double the size of the first one, touched down north east of Covington along Lee Road.

"A lot of things we look for really is trees as far," said Michael Efferson with the National Weather Service Office in Slidell, "When trees fall, if they're falling all in the same direction, that's usually uni-directional meaning straight line winds. If they're kind of crossing each other, that typically means you had a tornado that occurred."

The second twister concentrated its damage along Smith Road between Stafford and Highway 1082, which was closed for the first part of the day.  Investigators say it, too, put out 100 m.p.h. winds over a 100 yard width and stretched almost two miles.

Entergy and Cleco worked to repair dozens of downed power lines, while residents cut and cleared trees from their driveways and streets, lucky to not have faced anything worse.

© 2017 WWL-TV


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment