Weather service confirms 3 tornadoes hit northern Louisiana in Monday storm



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MONROE, Louisiana — The National Weather Service confirms three tornadoes struck Louisiana as a storm system moved across the state Monday.

The most severe of the twisters, which stayed on the ground for nine miles, started at 11:16 a.m. west of the West Monroe city limits. It moved through that city and into Monroe before lifting off at 11:27 a.m. Peak winds were 125 mph and its path was as wide as 300 yards.

Minutes earlier, a second tornado touched down in western Ouachita Parish, damaging houses along its 0.8-mile path off Caples Road before lifting off over Cheniere Lake. Wind strength was 90 to 100 mph and width was 225 yards.

Surveyors also found evidence of a third tornado about 5 miles south of Mansfield around 9 a.m. Its winds, estimated at 95 mph to 105 mph, mainly damaged trees on its mile-long path through a rural area of DeSoto Parish.

In the West Monroe-Monroe tornado, many homes and businesses suffered roof damage, including a television transmission tower, West Monroe High School, an apartment complex and homes and businesses in Monroe's Garden district.

In the Tanglewood subdivision, Oauchita Parish Police Juror Pat Moore told The News-Star (http://tnsne.ws/ZL3YAy ) that the neighborhood is making progress, thanks to the help of residents and several local churches.

"Most of the trees on the houses have been removed," she said. "Right now, it's just getting people to settle down. They've been through a lot."

Entergy Louisiana said Saturday that it had restored service to all customers capable of taking power, after recording more than 38,000 outages at the height of the storm.

Garden District resident Michael Thompson said he was excited when he realized the power was back on Friday night.

"There was a lot of cheering up and down the street," he said.

A group of students from West Ouachita High School volunteered Saturday to help clean up debris left in the wake of the Caples Road tornado.

"We went out early this morning and helped a family in need," said Tonya Ballard, a parent who helped organize the volunteer efforts. "It was bad near our high school, and so we decided to get our students involved with it."

The weather service also confirmed tornadoes near Ashdown and Wilton in Arkansas. The Ashdown storm killed a 33-year-old man and injured his wife and three children in a mobile home before sunrise Monday.


Information from: The News-Star, http://www.thenewsstar.com

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