National Weather Service confirms tornado struck Mid County

Published 9:31 am Thursday, May 26, 2022

The National Weather Service has confirmed a tornado touched down in Port Neches at 5:25 a.m. Wednesday.

Similar damage in the Nederland area was the result of straight-line winds, meteorologist Donovan Landreneau told Port Arthur Newsmedia.

“We were getting high winds even on the coast,” Landreneau said. “We got a report…that one of the rigs out there measured 89-93 mile per hour wind gusts.”

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Carla King has lived on 15th Street in Port Neches for 21 years without ever being forced out by a weather event. Wednesday afternoon, she and members of her family were packing up the contents of the home that largely has no roof.

“Do you how many hurricanes I’ve been through?” she said while filling boxes near her front door. “After Rita, this was a double carport. And (one) side of the carport was down. That was Rita. I’m just blown away.”

It started around 5:30 a.m. Wednesday.

“We were all still asleep,” she said. “It was my husband, my daughter and me. All of a sudden I just heard this loud noise. And I can’t tell you what the noise sounded like, it was just a loud noise. And then I heard some wind.”

King hid in the closet and prayed.

“It happened so quickly,” she said. “After the wind stopped, I came out and went to check on them. They were still in bed; they were good. Everything was fine. And then as I was coming through the house…that was when I saw the roof was gone.”

Sheetrock had fallen and blocked the front door, prompting her to call 9-1-1.

Port Neches Police Chief Paul Lemoine said police officers and members of the fire department were on scene to remove the residents of the home.

While King’s house was the only one on her street to suffer catastrophic damage, a number of residents and businesses throughout Port Neches and Nederland were damaged.

The National Weather Service in Lake Charles said the storm also dropped as much as 3.5 inches of rain near Port Arthur.

“We had a line that moved through (Wednesday0 morning, and that’s probably where most of the rain came from,” Meteorologist Montra Lockwood said. “It was pretty heavy at times.”

With more bad weather on the way and no possibility of staying in her home, King worked quickly Wednesday to fill boxes and empty refrigerators.

“I just need to know my next steps and progress,” she said. “All I care about is that we’re OK. God was watching over us.”

A flash flood watch is in effect for Jefferson County through Thursday morning.