BATON ROUGE, La. (KTAL/KMSS) — Gov. John Bel Edwards has signed a State of Emergency and toured storm damage North Louisiana from powerful storms that spawned a deadly tornado Tuesday in the rural Caddo Parish community of Keithville.
A mother and her 8-year-old son were killed in the storm, and at least two others were injured.
“I am heartbroken to learn of the mother and child who were killed in Southwest Caddo Parish due to one of numerous reported tornados,” Gov. Edwards said in a statement. “My prayers go out to the family as well as those who were injured or lost their homes.”
When deputies arrived at their address, they found nothing but a concrete slab, said sheriff’s Sgt. Casey Jones.
“You go to search a house and the house isn’t even there, so where do you search?” Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards told reporters, noting the challenge faced by emergency responders as he toured a mile-long path of destruction in Keithville.
Survey efforts are ongoing, but initial reports from the National Weather Service indicate six possible tornadoes struck Caddo, Union, Rapides, Madison, East Carroll and Franklin Parishes Tuesday. Preliminary surveys of the damage caused by the tornado that touched down in the Pecan Farms area near Four Forks just before 5 p.m. Tuesday was at least an EF-2, packing winds of 130 mph.
According to the governor’s office, this area will be Edwards’s first stop on Tuesday.
After meeting with local officials, the governor will take a tour of the damaged areas and then hold a news conference. After that, Edwards is expected to head to Farmerville in Union Parish, where as many as a dozen people were injured late Tuesday night when a tornado destroyed a neighborhood there.
Edwards will hold another meeting with local officials in Union Parish before touring the impacted areas.
The Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness is encouraging anyone who received damage from the storms to report their information at damage.la.gov. This self-reporting damage survey will help the state and local officials identify damage impacts in each region.
“Reporting damage to GOHSEP is extremely important, but voluntary,” the governor’s office said in the statement. “It does not replace filing a claim with your insurance agency. This is the first step in the recovery process and does not guarantee disaster relief assistance.“
As of late Wednesday morning, the Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office believed everyone was accounted for but deputies were still conducting welfare checks in cases where worried family members call concerned that they have not heard from their loved ones.
The severe weather threat continues in Central Louisiana as tornado and flood alerts remain active. The threat is expected to move into Southeast Louisiana through Wednesday evening.
“It is important for everyone to understand the threat is not over,” said GOHSEP Director Casey Tingle. “As this system has slowed down, it’s caused several inches of rain to fall from Southwest Louisiana to Central Louisiana. That line, which may include additional wind and tornado threats, may not clear the state until Wednesday evening. We urge everyone to remain weather aware and stay informed. Limit travel if road conditions become dangerous. Look for potential messaging from the National Weather Service, your local media or your local emergency managers.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.