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Officials estimate 100 homes hit by tornado in Orange County

Chron logo Chron 10/27/2021 By Meagan Ellsworth, Staff writer

UPDATE 12:50 p.m.:

Orange County Emergency Management Director Joel Ardoin has confirmed that a tornado hit Orange County, outside of the city limits, in the Little Cypress-Mauriceville area. No deaths have been reported. At least one person has been taken to the hospital but is not believed to have life-threatening injuries.

“We have a few areas that got hit pretty hard,” Ardoin said. “We don’t have an actual count yet. We are estimating about 100 homes.”

The officials are still assessing the situation, but he confirmed some of the homes have significant damage. The homes are in a subdivision in north LCM off Highway 1130.

No road closures have been reported.

12:20 p.m.:

Newton County Assistant Emergency Management Coordinator Olen Bean confirmed there are no reports of injuries from a tornado that touched down in the Deweyville community earlier today.

He reported damage in the Sandy Oaks subdivision, south of the Deweyville intersection of state highways 12 and 87, which is close to the Orange County line.

“We have one house that we have found so far that has major damage to it probably another 10-12 that have some type of roof damage or shingles off,” Bean said. “Several out buildings have damage, have been destroyed, or collapsed. A lot of trees down, a lot of power polls and lines so far. … We have not found anybody that has been injured.”

Bean also reported damage in Orange County south of Mauriceville towards Interstate 10.

For the Deweyville area, Bean said there were no major road closures to report. One private road for a house had a large tree down with power lines in it. Due to the heavy rainfall, the officials had to wait to get the electrical company to assist with the removal. He confirmed the residents were safe.

“We have a real good fire department here, South Newton County Fire and Rescue, they have been out trying to check on residents, on the calls that have been reported, and with the commissioner getting the roads opened up and where everyone can get in and out real soon,” Bean said.

Bean said the state is once again asking Texans to document storm damage through the State of Texas Assessment Tool (iSTAT) mobile phone application. The application was also used to document damage during the winter storm.

11:45 a.m.

NWS Lake Charles Meteorologist Donald Jones said tornado warnings across the area have been allowed to expire.

There are still strong winds with the thunderstorm activity that is moving across the Southeast Texas area and into Southwestern Louisiana. NWS reported winds over 60 mph, including some radar indicated winds up to 80 mph over Sabine Lake.

The activity is along the Sabine River and will move into Southwest Louisiana over the next hour or two, he said.

“There is no reason to think this activity is not going to put out some pretty gusty winds as it goes through the entire region so if you haven’t yet gone through this line of activity you are expected to see some strong winds,” Jones said shortly before 11:30 p.m.

Behind the line is light rain across the areas of western Jefferson, Hardin tyler and Jasper counties.

“Once this line gets through your particular area the severe weather threat will come to an end,” Jones said. “Now the winds are going to be breezy out of the Northwest, but they are not going to be destructive. They are not going to be life threatening. The life threatening and a severe weather threat is going to be right along and ahead of this activity which is pretty much almost through southeast Texas as of right now and will be moving into southwest Louisiana ...”

The Office of Emergency Management sent out an alert for Beaumont residents that said the severe thunderstorms and heavy rains are producing localized street flooding throughout the City and will remain in the area throughout this afternoon.

“Use caution if you have to travel in the weather,” the alert said. “Avoid flooded roadways and underpasses. Be Safe.”

11:15 a.m.:

Severe weather continues to move through the Southeast Texas area, including with strong winds and flash flood warnings in Jefferson and Orange counties.

NWS also has received reports of serious damage in the Newton County area following reports of a tornado confirmed on the ground near the Deweyville area. A tornado was also reported in Southwest Louisiana.

NWS plans to send storm survey crews this afternoon to assess.

“We will see exactly what kind of damage was experienced and how strong that tornado was,” NWS Lake Charles Meteorologist Donald Jones said around 10:30 a.m.

Emergency management officials for Newton and Orange counties could not immediately be reached to confirm reports of damage or injuries.

Jasper County Judge Mark Allen said shortly before 10:30 a.m. that there were no confirmed damage or injuries in Jasper County at the time. There was a risk for strong winds as the storm continued.

“We are continuing to monitor this secondary wave that is currently moving east into our area,” Allen said.

The Port Neches Fire Chief Eloy Vega confirmed officials continue to monitor the weather and he has not received reports of damage or injuries.

10 a.m.: Meteorologist Donald Jones has confirmed that a potentially large and dangerous tornado is moving through northern Orange County and into Western Calcasieu Parish. The tornado was moving east of Mauriceville and in the Deweyville area at the time of the update.

“This is a confirmed tornado on the ground,” Jones said. “There have been reports of damage and reports that is this is a large tornado.”

Original Story:

A tornado warning remains in effect as a cold front rolls into Southeast Texas.

“A tornado watch is in effect for the entire area through mid-afternoon,” the National Weather Service in Lake Charles posted on social media. “The primary threats with this watch include a few tornadoes (possibly intense) and damaging wind gusts to 70 mph. Stay weather aware!!!!!”

Southeast Texans awoke Wednesday morning to several weather alerts, including to shelter-in-place due to tornado warnings.

“At 9:32 a.m. a severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado was located over Orangefield, or near Bridge City, moving northeast at 30 mph,” the NWS warning said. “HAZARD…Tornado. SOURCE…Radar indicated rotation. IMPACT…Flying debris will be dangerous to those caught without shelter. Mobile homes will be damaged or destroyed. Damage to roofs, windows, and vehicles will occur. Tree damage is likely …”

A tornado watch continues until 4 p.m.

A cold front is expected to create a squall line and kick-start non-hurricane severe weather season a little early this year. Southeast Texas and several parts of the surrounding area have a 15% chance of “damaging winds” of 60 mph or greater. There is also a 5% chance of isolated tornadoes across the region, according to a previous article in The Enterprise.

“...I think the vast majority of both the damaging winds and the potential for tornadoes will be within this squall line itself, and the good news with that is the potential for severe weather is going to exist only for a couple of hours as that squall line is impacting certain areas and the system continues to move across,” NWS Lake Charles Meteorologist Donald Jones previously said during a forecast.

The squall line is expected to move through Southeast Texas from 8 a.m. to noon before crossing over the Sabine River. Rain is expected with the system as it moves over the area, but the agency only expects 1 to 1 1/2 inches for the Beaumont area, The Enterprise previously reported.

The temperature also is expected to drop Thursday and last into early next week, with highs in the 70s and lows in the upper 40s and lower 50s. The rain is expected to stop once the squall line heads further west, but it is expected to leave behind higher-than-usual winds, The Enterprise previously reported.

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