Storm’s ferocious wind downs trees, power lines

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 12, 2002


LAPLACE – Scattered outages and a few fallen trees marked the passage of a thunderstorm Monday through the River Parishes.

Rainfall totals in Hahnville came to 4.15 inches, as of midnight, according to Jason Tastet of the emergency operations center. The area was placed on a flash flood watch and tornado watch by the National Weather Service.

Also, four trees were blown down, at Evangeline Road in Montz, Julia Street in Hahnville, Grand Bayou Road near Paradis and on Bayou Gauche Road. A utility pole also toppled at Luling Avenue and Ashton Street, Tastet added.

Nevertheless, damage was minimal and there were no power outages reported or injuries in St. Charles Parish.

Louisiana State Police Trooper Omar Landrum said despite the weather, accidents were at a minimum and there was “nothing significant” to report.

Tammy Frank, customer service manager for Entergy, said outages for 2,500 customers were scattered along the Garyville, Reserve and LaPlace area during the height of the storm at 1:30 p.m. Nevertheless, she termed Monday’s storm as “uneventful.”

By 7 p.m., Frank added, with repair crews speedily dispatched, outages were down to nothing.

“We are so used to dealing with weather, this was nothing,” Frank said. “What we worry about are hurricanes and ice storms.”

St. James Parish Sheriff Wily Martin reported one house fire in the Belmont area off River Road.

Employees of a neighboring auto repair shop ran over to assist after a lightning bolt struck the house. They were able to contain the blaze to the attic with extinguishers until the fire department arrived.

Martin said there was structural damage to the roof and attic, as well as some water damage, but no one was injured.

St. John the Baptist Sheriff’s Office spokesperson, Capt. Mike Tregre, said reserve officers were on stand-by in the parish, but the storm’s bark was worse than its bite. No injuries were reported in incidents that included several trees blown over, a transformer fire on E. 22nd St. in Reserve, and a car in a ditch on Bayou Steel Road. The most serious accident occurred when a tree fell on power lines and crashed onto the vehicle of Donald Eugene. The Garyville resident had just left his home on Historic East Street for the post office when the branches came crashing down. Eugene said he safely exited the car as everything “started sparking.”

Firefighters cleared the area with chainsaws.