BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The National Weather Service confirms that an EF-1 tornado touched town in Baton Rouge early Friday morning.
Several WAFB viewers captured video of the tornado as it ripped through the Sherwood Forest area around 9 a.m.
WAFB meteorologist Steve Caparotta sent videos to the National Weather Service during a special live report. Upon review, they confirmed that it was a tornado that caused the damage.
Witnesses say the tornado tossed a vehicle that was located at the RaceTrac gas station on Old Hammond Hwy.
Several residents recalled their experiences when the tornado touched down.
"I really couldn't see too much. It almost looked like fog with just debris flying every around. It just was like swirling," says Rachel Rybolt.
The tornado, moving an estimated 90 mph, left behind a line of devastation. Rybolt says her house was shaking. "I heard a loud noise, sounded like a freight train."
Amazing cell phone video from viewer, George Jacobs, captured the storm in action. Jacobs says he just so happened to be looking near the Old Hammond shopping area when he spotted the dark clouds and severe storm. "I told my wife, 'That looks like a tornado forming,'" said Jacobs.
He caught the tornado as he was pumping gas at Costco on Airline Hwy. at I-12. "You could see it start moving. A little bit of debris forming up and then the transformers blowing," said Jacobs.
On Old Hammond Hwy., Gregory Ricard was walking into work when he saw firsthand the power of Mother Nature. "It was twisting like crazy. Then it picked up a car on the side of the RaceTrac and flipped it across the lot and threw it against the top of the building," said Ricard.
Angela Coleman recalls what she saw as well. "Wheel barrels and buckets just swirling," she said. As she pulled up to her home, she says she barely made it inside. "I got in, closed the door. I heard all kinds of crash, boom. Let it calm down a bit, came outside and I noticed the complete damage. I said, 'Oh my God, I've got to call my husband.' There was a tornado right before my eyes," said Coleman.
All the witnesses WAFB spoke to say this was their first time being this close to a tornado, but it's not an experience they'd wouldn't want to relive. "It wasn't exciting, but it was scary. That's a hell of a doggone thing," said Ricard.
According to EMS, around the time the tornado hit, one person was transported to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
ENTERGY power outage map
DEMCO power outage map
There are also reports of damage in Iberville Parish. Residents in the town of White Castle reported damage shortly before the Baton Rouge twister. Residents say the whole ordeal only lasted about 20 seconds, but say it was the scariest 20 seconds they've had to live through.
White Castle firefighters are making their rounds to assess the damage. Thankfully, there were no reported injuries.
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YOUR EXTENDED FORECAST:
- MOTHER’S DAY SUNDAY: sunny, nice – light northerly winds, a high of 85°
- MONDAY: returning sunshine – warmer, a high in the upper 80°s
- TUESDAY: spring sunshine, afternoon temperatures in the upper 80°s
- WEDNESDAY: a few clouds – partly cloudy, a spotty/isolated shower; a high of 86°
- THURSDAY: sun/cloud mix - isolated rain (20% coverage); a high of 86°
- Coastal Waters: SW winds, 15 – 20 knots; Seas, 3 – 5 feet; SMALL CRAFT USE CAUTION THROUGH LATE TONIGHT
- Inland Lakes: SW winds, 15 – 20 knots; Waves, 3 – 5 feet; SMALL CRAFT USE CAUTION THROUGH LATE TONIGHT
TIDES FOR MAY 13:
- High Tide: 12:09 pm +1.4
- Low Tide: 10:09 pm 0.0