Onalaska Tornado Details Released, Deadliest in Area Since 1987
The Galveston-Houston National Weather Service (NWS) is calling the Polk County tornado on April 22nd, the deadliest to hit their forecast area in over 30 years. Three deaths in Onalaska are attributed to Wednesday's storm. The NWS which services the Houston-Galveston area stated that in 1987 a tornado killed three in Madison County.
Multiple damage survey teams from the National Weather Service offices in Houston/Galveston and Lake Charles recently documented their findings concerning the tornadoes that touched down in Polk and Jasper Counties.
The Polk County tornado touched down near the Waterwood Marina on the northwest edge of Lake Livingston. It then progressed eastward and hit several communities in Onalaska including Paradise Acres. This is where the tornado was strongest with 140 mph winds, placing it into the EF-3 category.
This tornado traveled around 32 miles before lifting near the town of Barnes in northeastern Polk County. At its widest, the tornado was around 1100 yards wide. In addition to the 3 deaths, 33 injuries were reported for the storm. Nearly 300 homes were damaged and around 50 were totally destroyed. Two mobile homes in Seven Oaks were destroyed when the tornado, an EF-2 at this time, crossed Highway 59.
According to the narrative, a man living near Barnes was sitting at his computer when a tree came crashing through his room. The man suffered minor injuries.
The National Weather Service in Lake Charles classified the Jasper County tornado as an EF-2 with top winds of 130 mph. The storm touched down 6 miles East of Jasper on County Road 278 then traveled eastward for 37 miles before lifting up near Rosepine, Louisiana. There were numerous reports of damage to homes, roofs, and trees along this path, but no injuries or deaths were reported.