The National Weather Service confirmed that a tornado touched down in Port Neches at 5:25 a.m. Wednesday.
Similar damage in the Netherlands region was the result of straight-line winds, meteorologist Donovan Landreneau said. Port Arthur Newsmedia.
“We had strong winds even on the coast,” Landreneau said. “We received a report…that one of the rigs there was measuring wind gusts of 89 to 93 miles per hour.”
Carla King has lived on 15th Street in Port Neches for 21 years without ever having been forced to leave by a weather event. On Wednesday afternoon, she and members of her family were packing the contents of the house, which for the most part has no roof.
“Do you know how many hurricanes I’ve been through? she said, filling boxes near her front door. “After Rita, it was a double carport. And (one) side of the carport was broken. It 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 was like, it was just a loud noise. And then I heard the wind.
King hid in the closet and prayed.
“It happened so fast,” she said. “After the wind stopped, I went out and went to see them. They were still in bed; they were good. Everything was fine. And then, as I walked through the house…that’s when I saw the roof was gone.
Sheetrock had fallen and blocked the front door, prompting him to call 9-1-1.
Port Neches Police Chief Paul Lemoine said police and firefighters were on hand to evacuate residents from the home.
While King’s house was the only one on his street to suffer catastrophic damage, a number of residents and businesses in Port Neches and the Netherlands were damaged.
The Lake Charles National Weather Service said the storm also dropped up to 3.5 inches of rain near Port Arthur.
“We had a line that moved (Wednesday morning, and that’s probably where most of the rain is coming from,” said meteorologist Montra Lockwood. “It was quite heavy at times.”
With more bad weather on the way and no possibility of staying home, King worked quickly Wednesday to fill boxes and empty fridges.
“I just need to know my next steps and my progress,” she said. “All I care about is that we’re okay. God was watching over us.
A flash flood watch is in effect for Jefferson County through Thursday morning.