Tornado hits Vernon, Rapides parishes

Risk of Severe Weather remains for Acadiana
Posted at 4:08 AM, Dec 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-16 16:58:49-05

At least one person died this morning when a tornado swept across Rapides and Vernon parishes in central Louisiana.

The weather system is now entering St. Landry and Acadia parishes, with tornado warnings posted for Acadia and St. Landry parishes until 4 p.m. As of 4 p.m., Acadia Sheriff KP Gibson reported no damage or injuries so far from a suspected tornado. He said it was spotted over a rural area, but no confirmation of any damage or touch-down.

Here's some video from near Crowley, thanks to viewer Jamie Fontenot:

Video of a funnel cloud spotted in Acadia Parish from Layton Meaux:

The only confirmed fatality happened when the tornado hit a home near Rosepine, a spokesman for the Vernon Parish Sheriff's Office said.

The National Weather Service in Lake Charles mapped a preliminary path, estimating the length at 63 miles.

Here's the post with the map:

The Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) has activated its Crisis Action Team (CAT) to react to the storm.

GOHSEP reports damage to homes and other structures, downed trees and power lines and blocked roadways.

Most of the damage in Vernon Parish took place in rural areas, the sheriff's spokesman said. As of 3 p.m., Beauregard Electric, which services much of the area where the storm hit, was reporting about 1000 customers in the dark.

To see damage pictures and video, click here and here.

Here's Dave Baker's forecast from earlier today:

Low pressure will develop over northeast Texas in response to a strong upper trough over the western states. A trailing cold front will pass through the area later this afternoon and early evening. Strong southerly winds will bring moisture in from the Gulf of Mexico. The setup, which includes strong shear could set the stage for strong thunderstorms, including fast moving supercells, that could produce damaging winds and tornadoes. The Storm Prediction Center has most of the region in a (Level 2) Slight Risk, while the northern sections are in a (Level 3) Enhanced Risk of severe weather.

The front will approach the area later this afternoon. Therefore, lots of clouds will start your Monday with gusty winds out of the south. These gusts could reach 25-30mph later this afternoon. There will be some scattered showers during the morning, with storms developing along the front this afternoon. The individual storms that develop well ahead of the front are the bigger concern. These lone storms are more likely to rotate and produce the damaging winds and tornadoes. A line of storms storms will accompany the front later in the day.

Expect temperatures to run in the upper 70s for highs with those gusty south winds. The front is expected to reach the western areas early this afternoon, through Lafayette closer to the 5pm drive time, then exit the region later this evening for Iberia and St. Mary Parishes. Colder air will then surge in.

Tuesday, we'll expect clouds to gradually clear with gusty north winds. Highs will only reach the lower 50s. Overnight temperatures Tuesday night could dip close to freezing.

A live look at our radar is below:

Several parishes have released early today, click here for the details.

Damage has been reported in Vernon Parish,read that story here.