, Port Arthur, Texas

October 31, 2013

Police confirm tornado hits Bridge City, damage unknown

The Port Arthur News

— Bridge City police have confirmed a tornado hit the city. Police dispatchers at 10:05 a.m. did not know the extent of the damage, other than there were downed power lines.

Port Arthur News reporter Gabe Pruitt is in Bridge City. According to Pruitt, an area along Arthur and surrounding street, off of FM 408, sustained damage with numerous uprooted trees, and a partially downed fence. Tree limb debris is visible throughout the neighborhood. Pruitt said there has been no report of injuries. Many are without electical power.

Elaine Lemoine, a resident of Arthur Street, desribed the event as "lots of wind and things flying through the ai and very, very loud."

The Rainbow Bridge is closed due to an accident on the bridge. Port Arthur Police Dispatcher Ralph Odom said an 18-wheeler jack-knifed at about 9:43 a.m. No other vehicles were involved, and no injuries reported. At 11:15 a.m. Odom said he expected the bridge to be closed soon.

Texas Department of Public Safety spokesperson Sarah Dupre said there are several roads in the area, especially in Beaumont, with standing water. Though none of the roads have been closed, Dupre urged motorist to exercise caution and not drive through the water. Motorists cannot determine how deep water is in such cases, she said.

City Manager Jerry Jones said the city is receiving reports of downed power lines and trees in the area of Arthur Street near FM 408. Though he could not conform tornadic activity, there very well could have been a tornado because of the high winds the city is experiencing.

Reports are coming in from West Orange Elementary School on MartinLuther King that children are sheltered in the hall because of the inclement weather.

Entergty's outage Web site showed about 10,000 customers in the Golden Triangle without power just after 10 a.m. Thursday.

Jinni Akins, president of the Nederland Chamber of Commerce, has announced that this evening's Trunk or Treat activity in Nederland has been canceled because of the weather.

At 915 am, NWS radar showed a line of strong thunderstorms extending from Beaumont to Mauriceville in southeast Texas, extending into southwest Louisiana from Starks to Singer, DeRidder, and Leesville. This line is moving slowly to the east, and will produce 2-4 inches of rain.

The National Weather Service in Lake Charles is issuing weather watches and warnings for the ongoing heavy rain and flooding, high wind, coastal flooding, and possible tornadoes.

Due to the strong south winds, tides are running above normal and causing drainage areas in Calcasieu Parish to back up. When the line of thunderstorms reaches Sulphur, Westlake, and Lake Charles, we are expecting to see some street flooding due to the lack of runoff capabilities.

Street flooding has already been reported in southeast Texas from Tyler, Jasper, and Hardin, and Jefferson counties.

Winds are expected to gust 25-35 mph today from the south, which could cause isolated power outages.

Weather conditions should improve this afternoon in southeast Texas, this evening in southwest and central Louisiana, and late tonight in south central Louisiana.