A National Weather Service employee said an EF 2 tornado could be compared to a category three hurricane in terms of damage potential.
BEAUMONT, Texas — The National Weather Service has confirmed that four tornadoes, an EF 0, two that were EF 2, and one EF-unknown, touched down in Jefferson and Orange Counties on Wednesday.
One of the EF 2 tornadoes touched down south of Old Highway 90 near the Highway 62 exit on Interstate 10 in Orange, according to an NWS report. At its peak, the tornado reached winds of 130 mph.
Upon it’s initial touchdown, the tornado brought severe damage to a brick home, destroyed a building in the backyard of the home, and tossed a side-by-side ATV stored in the backyard building across Interstate 10. As the tornado continued along it’s path, several homes, garages and business received structural damage and trees were blown down.
The tornado could be compared to a category three hurricane regarding damage potential, said Roger Erickson of the NWS. No injuries or fatalities were reported from this tornado. The tornado lasted about 6 minutes long.
The last time a tornado of this caliber hit Southeast Texas was in 2004. Several EF 1 and EF 2 tornadoes hit Hardin and Tyler Counties, damaged homes, knocked down trees and killed an elderly woman.
The other EF 2 tornado began near Highway 1130 in Orange and later crossed into Newton County. Upon it’s initial touchdown, the tornado flipped a mobile home, trapping and critically injuring woman inside.
Other homes along Highway 1130 suffered damage from the tornado. As the tornado continued it’s path, several homes and garages were damaged along South Teal and Hudson Road in Orange, and in Hartburg in Newton County.
At it’s peak the tornado reached winds 130 miles per hour. It’s duration was about 14 minutes long.
A brief EF 0 tornado touched down west of Nick Avenue in Port Acres. It brought structural damage to buildings and homes and blew numerous limbs off trees. No fatalities or injuries were reported in connection to this tornado.
At it’s peak the tornado reached winds of 80 mph. It’s duration was approximately one minute long.
A tornado categorized as an “EF-unknown” touched down briefly in Bessie Heights. An NSW report said, “there is no way to survey this area.”
Recovery efforts are underway in Orange County as members of the community survey the damage left from the EF2 tornado that began near the Highway 62 exit.
Orange County Judge John Gothia issued a disaster declaration around 2 p.m. on Wednesday knowing that areas south of Highway 62 were severely damaged. Gothia said the county’s top priority is restoring power to those who are without.
Written by Scott Eslinger (12NewsNow), Tiana Johnson (KBMT)