BATON ROUGE, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Gov. John Bel Edwards on Sunday declared a State of Emergency following severe weather in the state, which included large hail and several strong tornadoes.
Gov. Edwards also announced plans late Sunday afternoon for a tour of the tornado damage in North Louisiana on Monday.
“During the early morning on April 12, a line of severe thunderstorms moved across Louisiana, bringing with it heavy rainfall, wind gusts up to 60 miles per hour, large hail (two inches in diameter or greater), flash flooding and strong tornado activity,” said a statement announcing the emergency declaration.
“There already are reported power outages, downed trees and significant damage to structures in multiple parishes, including Ouachita, Bossier and DeSoto. Ouachita Parish has declared a state of emergency and additional parishes may follow suit.”
Click here to read the declaration.
Radar picked up debris signatures in Kingston and south of Frierson, as well as Mt. Lebanon and Arcadia in Bienville Parish and Heflin in southern Webster. According to the DeSoto Parish Sheriff’s Office, many homes were heavily damage and some have been destroyed. The sheriff’s office is working with the American Red Cross to help those displaced by the storms.
While there have not been any confirmed fatalities in North Louisiana as a result of the storms, a Louisiana Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) Task Force team including firefighters from Shreveport, Caddo, and Bossier Parish was deployed to the Monroe area Sunday afternoon to assist with searching for victims after several tornadoes touched down in the area.
“Sunday’s severe weather impacted multiple parishes in Louisiana, with reported tornadoes and large hail. I am declaring this emergency in order to make sure the parishes that are impacted, and any additional areas that may see severe weather into the night, are able to get assistance from the state,” Gov. Edwards said. “The damage is devastating and is a good reminder that everyone in Louisiana should stay weather aware. Please monitor local media for information about weather in your area and follow the directions of your local officials.”