SATSUMA -- Trees and power lines were torn down and several roofs were blown off their homes when a tornado ripped through the Satsuma area Thursday morning.
Areas in southern Livingston Parish, specifically Colyell and S. Satsuma Road, were battered with a tornado, rain, and high winds between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m.
Many trees and power lines were downed during the storm, causing damage to property, homes, and streets. Power has been knocked out for most residents, with DEMCO reporting that 3,743 Livingston Parish residents were affected by the storm.
Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office deputies were on scene shortly after the tornado, and no injuries were been reported in the parish as of Thursday night.
The NWS Storm Prediction Center listed four tornado reports in Louisiana as of Thursday afternoon. The NSW also reported that the extreme weather has moved out of the area.
The number of homes that flooded and the damages from the tornadoes are still being calculated. Parish President Layton Ricks signed an emergency declaration Thursday and awaits for the Governor to sign his own.
Many residents of the Colyell and S. Satsuma Road were in their yards Thursday morning, piling up tree limbs and debris minutes after natural disaster had torn through their land.
Austin Cornett and two others were on top of his roof on Larry Watts Road, near Colyell Baptist Church. Cornett, who wasn't home at the time of the tornado, said he was told it hit his home around 9:40 a.m., ripping off some of his siding, pulling down a sizable chunk of his carport's covering, and tossing half his roof across the street.
Catherine Kirkland was in her home on Perrilloux Road near Colyell Community Park when she got a call from a neighbor warning her of the approaching tornado. Her trailer started shaking shortly after, and she bunkered herself in a closet.
“The roof started ripping off, and it sounded like all hell broke loose,” Kirkland said. “If it had touched down, it would’ve blown my trailer up.”
Like Cornett, part of Kirkland's roof was torn from her home before the tornado moved on. She said the ordeal lasted about “a minute or two.”
“It was long enough,” said Kirkland, whose nephew rushed into her home to get her to safety. “But I was praying. When my house started shaking, I asked the Lord to help me. He did, because it could’ve been worse.”
Several of Kirkland’s neighbors also had damage to their homes and possessions. The trampoline of a neighbor two houses over was flipped on its side, a few feet away from a thrown-down basketball goal.
Malinda Thornton, Kirkland’s neighbor, was hiding in a bathroom with her two grandsons when the tornado left Kirkland’s home and went through her pool area, damaging her fence at the tornado’s entrance and exit points before moving across the street.
“I heard the noise, and that’s when I came out and saw what had happened,” Thornton said, pointing to the two holes in her fence.
Heather Guthrie, whose home lies further north on S. Satsuma Road, received an alert on her phone at approximately 9:54 a.m. and immediately bunkered herself and her 10-year-old son in a bathroom.
Less than five minutes later, the tornado had rolled through her yard, knocking down at least six trees and throwing one or two on the family home.
“You can see the clearing where it went through,” Guthrie said, waving a hand at the tornado’s path that went around her home and behind a pond in the backyard.
Shannon Brooks, whose home also lies on S. Satsuma Road, was alone when she received an alert.
“I had enough time to see it and grab my animals and go in a closet,” she said. Brooks said the tornado came within “five feet” of her home and ripped up some of the siding of her trailer. The wind also dropped a limb on top of her Ford Fiesta.
Charles McCon, whose home is near the S. Satsuma Road and La. Hwy. 42 intersection, said his wife called him in a panic about the tornado, which knocked over a large oak tree that was more than 75 years old — and many others throughout his land.
McCon said he has lived in the house for the last 26 years and had never experienced a tornado.
“We survived pretty good, but we took a pretty good blow,” McCon said.
If you are having issues with damage, flooding, or need help, contact Emergency Services through the parish at 225-686-3066 or email email@example.com.