Long cleanup ahead for NW LA after storms

Building near Shreveport Police Department partially falls down during storms.
Building near Shreveport Police Department partially falls down during storms.

SHREVEPORT/BOSSIER CITY, LA (KSLA) - High winds and tornadoes from Thursday night's severe weather left a trail of damage across several parts of NW Louisiana, NE Texas and SW Arkansas.

Despite the numerous reports of damaged homes, golf ball-sized hail, and downed trees and power lines, few people suffered injuries and none of those were serious.

In the Lakeview Subdivision just north of Shreveport, a man was trapped in his SUV after it was hit by a falling tree and power line. The man and crews with Caddo Fire District Two had to wait on SWEPCO power crews because no one knew if the power lines were live.  Eventually rescue crew were able to help the driver from the SUV. He went to the hospital for a cut that required stitches, but was otherwise OK.

At one point just before midnight, Kacee Kirschvink with SWEPCO said just under 30,000 customers were without power. About 12,000 outages were in Shreveport and 8,200 were in Bossier City.

The powerful winds damaged a vacant building on Texas Street next to the Shreveport Police Department, knocking bricks and other debris from the top of the building to the ground below.

In north Shreveport near I-220, a dozen train cars derailed when the storm blew them off the railroad tracks.

The winds brought down more than a dozen utility poles along Barksdale Boulevard in Bossier City, near the West Gate of Barksdale Air Force Base. Police had to divert traffic into the nearby neighborhoods to keep vehicles away from the downed lines.

Most of the poles that fell ran parallel to the Kansas City Southern Railroad tracks. The city had to call KCS and have them suspend train traffic because the power lines and poles that fell on the tracks.

The intersection of Barksdale Boulevard and Westgate Drive is expected to be closed most of Friday. Bossier has also closed off Barksdale Boulevard from Shady Grove Drive to McDade Street until further notice, and the Shreveport-Barksdale Bridge is closed to traffic coming east into Bossier City from Shreveport. Drivers are advised to use the A.R. Teague Parkway instead.

Barksdale's Public Affairs Office said the West Gate will not be open Friday morning. People going to the base Friday morning will need to use one of the other gates to enter the base. All non-essential base personnel should not arrive at the base until 12:00 pm.

Col. Steve Basham, the Wing Commander for the 2nd Bomb Wing at Barksdale AFB said the base had trees and limbs down but no significant damage.

The storm blew out the windows in several buildings along Barksdale Boulevard, including Lewis Furniture Store. A Bossier City police car and ambulance had their windows damaged by the storm as well.  At Beam's Restaurant, the outdoor sign fell down into the parking lot.

Guests at the Relax Inn on Barksdale Boulevard were forced from their rooms when the storm blew the roof off. The motel lost power and water began leaking into the rooms, but none of the hotel guests were injured.

A tent set up for a weekend wedding reception was also knocked down by the storm.

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