Tornado-stricken Natchez cleaning up

Published: Jan. 23, 2017 at 3:51 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 23, 2017 at 10:54 PM CST
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Enhanced Fujita Scale (KSLA)
Enhanced Fujita Scale (KSLA)

NATCHEZ, LA (KSLA) - It's hard to think about the future when there's still so much to do now.

That's the way some Natchez, La., residents feel as they clean after a tornado Jan. 21.

"I haven't made any plans yet. So far, just trying to clean up. That's about it," said Howard Johnson.

It's the second full day of cleanup for him since the tornado wiped out his mobile home along Louisiana Highway 494.

Luckily, his family is there to help him pick up the pieces.

"We've been tying up the tent and stuff and putting it certain places as well as the lumber and stuff. We still have a bunch of stuff on the river bank we have to pick up," said Johnson.

A National Weather Service survey team says damage near Natchez is consistent with EF-2 tornado damage.

The NWS report says the tornado touched down 0.53 of a mile northeast of Natchez at 5:56 p.m. and lifted 7 minutes later 2.52 miles east-northeast of Natchez, cutting a path of damage just more than 2 miles long with winds peaking at 125 mph.

Surveyors found numerous uprooted trees, downed power lines and significant structural damage to 5 houses, including one where the roof was torn off and 3 exterior walls collapsed.

Several outbuildings also were severely damaged in and around Cane River.

The storm reportedly settled down before it reached Red River.

Officials say one man was hurt during the tornado, suffering an injury to one of his arms.

Natchez native Isaac LaCour said he opened his front door just as the storm hit.

"When it sucked me out through that door, I think I wound up hitting this with this arm. That's what tore all this up."

His arm was bruised and not broken, but the storm collapsed the residence where he lived with his wife.

The roof was taken off the home that Stephen Crayne rents on LA 494 as he watched from inside a back bathroom. He and the homeowner, Eddie Elie, were out Monday afternoon making repairs.

"Just the roof was peeled back. The  back air conditioner was sucked out of the window or almost sucked out of the window. It tried to suck me out," said Crayne.

"We're just trying to get it back together so he can come back home," said Elie. He also has to make repairs to his own home down the street, where his patio was destroyed and his camper lost.

"It's kind of rough right now. Just trying to do what we can," said Elie.

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