2 dead, at least 30 injured in St. James Parish after tornado hits Convent

Elizabeth Vowell reports on severe damage, deadly tornado in Convent - 10 p.m.
Severe damage in Convent, LA (Source: WAFB)
Severe damage in Convent, LA (Source: WAFB)

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Parish officials confirmed that two people were killed and at least 30 people were injured after a tornado ripped through a Convent RV park in St. James Parish.

The St. James Parish Office of Emergency Preparedness investigated the possibility of a tornado touchdown in Convent near the Sugar Hill RV Park. About 300 residents in about 160 trailers were hit in the RV Park.

Officials say that 18 of the victims were taken to Our Lady of the Lake in Baton Rouge. Of the 31 people who were rushed to the hospital, seven of them were critical with life-threatening injuries.


Convent Tornado Morning Aftermath - Part 2

Convent Tornado Morning Aftermath - Part 3

Emergency workers will work well into the night, making their way through the rubble to reach the victims until they are sure no one is left behind.

"Search and rescue missions will go on though the night. There are still people unaccounted for," Gov. John Bel Edwards. "That doesn't mean they're injured or there are fatalities. It just means we have not accounted for them yet. It's a miracle there were only 2 fatalities and a few people missing from all the destruction left behind."

"We have a trailer park (sugar hill trailer park in convent) that is leveled right now. We have injuries. We have injuries we have to assist and carry out. We still have people we have not been located," said Sheriff Willy Martin.

If you live in the area of Sugar Hill RV Park and are okay, please contact the dispatch center at (225) 562-2200.

The parish set up a shelter at the Lutcher Senior Center located on 2631 Louisiana Avenue, Lutcher, LA 70071. The Red Cross is helping family in need at the shelter.

Edwards declared a state of emergency for St. James Parishes as well as six other parishes. He traveled to Convent to assess the damage along with State Police Superintendent Col. Mike Edmonson and Col. James Waskom, Director of the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP).

According to the school system's Facebook page, all St. James Parish Schools and offices will be open Wednesday.

Entergy reported that about 500 customers were without power in St. James Parish and at least 19 poles were broken due to severe weather. The company estimated that the power would be restored to all the customers in the parish by 5 p.m. Thursday.

According to officials, Entergy dispatched 80 lineman to assist with restoration in the area and that it may take longer to restore power for residents with damaged meters.

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