SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - 40 years have passed since one of the worst tornadoes in northwest Louisiana history tore through the heart of Bossier City. At 1:50am on December 3rd, 1978 an F-4 tornado packing winds of more than 250 mph carved an 8 mile long path through the city. At times the tornado was one-quarter of a mile wide. 266 people were injured and unfortunately there were 2 deaths as a result of the storm.
The tornado touched down on the Bossier City side of the Red River near where Diamond Jacks Casino Resort now stands. The tornado crossed I-20 around the Benton Road and Barksdale Boulevard interchange. It produced up to F-3 damage (winds 156-206 mph) in the area of where Texas Roadhouse now sits off of Gould Drive.
The tornado produced more F-3 damage just past where Pierre Bossier Mall now stands along Airline Drive and Texas Street.
The tornado continued on a path to the northeast passing through the Meadowview neighborhood. This was where the tornado reached it’s peak intensity as an F-4 (winds 207-260 mph). Parts of Meadowview Elementary were destroyed and several steel I-Beams from the school weighing 700 lbs were thrown a few hundred feet before being drove firmly into the ground. It was in this part of town that the 2 fatalities occurred. Two sisters were killed on La Don Drive when a car was thrown into the bedroom that they were sleeping in.
The tornado may have also reached F-4 intensity again as it crossed I-220 near the Shed Road interchange and moved into the Stockwell Place and Carriage Oaks neighborhoods. From there the tornado rapidly lifted near Red Chute Bayou.
At the time damage estimates were around 100 million dollars. With the growth of Bossier City over the last 40 years, a similar storm tracking through the same area today would be much more devastating both in terms of property losses and perhaps lives as well.