Ashley Mott, Monroe News-Star
Published 10:55 a.m. CT April 12, 2020 | Updated 2:31 p.m. CT April 12, 2020
Tornado damages homes north of Millhaven
Communities around the Millhaven area and Interstate 20 at Pecanland Mall have been severely damaged by a tornado on Easter Sunday.
A tornado was confirmed on the ground in the area around 11:45 p.m.
“We have major damage to structures, trees and our airport,” Mayor Jamie Mayo said. “There are reports of 3 or 4 minor injuries but no reports of deaths at this time.”
Scanner traffic indicates several homes were damaged in the Cherry Blossom area north of Millhaven.
Police are searching homes in the region for injuries. Commercial structures were also damaged on both sides of the interstate.
A second staging area is also being set up in Monroe near Jackson Street and Orange Street. Trees are reportedly on homes at that site and across the Ouachita River in the Lazarre Park area of West Monroe.
The area behind the Coca-Cola plant off of U.S. 165 South also has several homes damaged.
All Monroe Police units are being called in to respond to the areas of damage and a staging area is being set up at the Public Safety Center.
According to scanner traffic, electricity is out on U.S. 165 in Monroe, and red lights are not operational.
West Monroe tornado damage
West Monroe Mayor Staci Albritton Mitchell said houses in her city “have been leveled.”
Mitchell said some residents had to be rescued from their homes after being trapped by falling trees. “The police were able to get them out safely,” she said.
Albritton has opened the West Monroe Community Center for West Monroe residents displaced from their homes.
“It’s bad,” she said.
Monroe Regional Airport damage
Damage to a hangar at Monroe Regional Airport has been reported. There is reportedly a gas leak at the site.
The entire airport and airfield is closed. Airport Director Ron Phillips said there is debris everywhere.
The hangar belongs to AV Flight, and Phillips said there is between $25 and $30 million in damage to aircraft stored in the hangar.
Semi-trucks also overturned on Central Avenue near Monroe Regional Airport. One was reportedly leaking fuel.
Tornados confirmed; Trees and damage reported
Update 11:44 a.m.:
The News-Star’s media partners at KTVE are reporting a tornado on the ground near Swartz.
A second radar-confirmed tornado is also confirmed in Ouachita south of Sterlington.
According to police scanner traffic, multiple trees are south of West Monroe and in the Brownsville and Bawcomville area.
A tree reportedly fell on a house in 400 block of Brown Street. Downed trees were blocking the path to the home.
Northeast Louisiana under high-risk of severe weather
Live weather updates from The News-Star’s media partner at KTVE/KARD are available above.
All areas of northeast Louisiana are under a high risk of severe weather and most parishes are under a tornado watch as of Sunday morning.
As of 10:45 a.m., severe thunderstorm warnings were starting to appear in the western edge of NELA, including Union, Jackson, Ouachita and Lincoln parishes.
Tornado warnings were also being issued in western parishes, such as Jackson. Watch the live video for the latest data.
In the Sunday forecast, long-lived tornadoes, hail and damaging winds were possible.
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