The National Weather Service confirmed that a tornado hit Port Arthur on Wednesday.
Officials said the brief tornado started just west of Nick Avenue in Port Acres, where damage was done to buildings and the roofs of houses.
“The tornado moved northeast, crossing Silver Avenue and then curving northeast across 63rd Street before dissipating near 64th Street,” the report said. “Many members were shot.”
The tornado was classified EFO with a wind peak of 80 mph and a maximum width of 100 meters. It did 0.36 mile, starting at 8:54 a.m. and ending a minute later.
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Dwain Wright intended to sleep on Wednesday morning. Because he had a day off, the Port Acres resident stayed up late to watch the World Series and post-game coverage.
But the sound of his broken windows ended his sleep late Wednesday morning.
Wright, who lives on Nick Avenue, is one of four residents on the corner of Nick and 63rd Street who were damaged by a morning tornado.
“It’s just those four houses,” he said, pointing to the spot where the trees were uprooted and at least one building has been stripped of its sides. In addition to his broken windows, Wright’s garage door was damaged. But his garden, he said, was virgin.
“It hadn’t even started to rain yet,” he recalls. “It was dry as a bone when I opened my front door. It was as if something had woken up.
The something was a thunderstorm cell that developed nearby, according to the National Weather Service.
“An individual super cell moved to shore around 8 a.m. (Wednesday),” said meteorologist Stephen Carboni of the NWS Lake Charles office. “He moved to the coast of Jefferson County, near Sea Rim State Park.”
The storm then moved northeast and through Mid County to Orange County, where it then produced a large tornado that was broadcast in a video widely shared on social media.
At 5 p.m. Wednesday, Roger Erickson, a coordinating warning meteorologist for the NWS, was in southeast Texas to study the damage to determine if and where the tornadoes had formed and made landfall.
A Port Acres resident at the intersection who declined to speak until an insurance adjuster saw the damage said her laundry room was ruined by part of a split tree.
“It came quickly,” her parent said.
Wright moved to the area 26 years ago after being allied with the tornadoes.
“At least with hurricanes you get a warning,” he said. “Back then, we would wake up to find that the neighbors hadn’t survived. I thank God it was not worse than before.