Southeastern US Tornadoes Leave Wreckage and Amazing Survival Stories
By David E. Hubler
Contributor, EDM Digest
The nine tornadoes that earlier this week struck the southeastern U.S., including New Orleans and seven parishes in eastern Louisiana, left a wide path of destruction. Five people were reported killed and about 40 others were injured.
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards took an aerial tour Tuesday, issuing a disaster declaration for the stricken counties before meeting with emergency and city officials in New Orleans.
As so often happens in severe weather situations, fragile structures such as mobile homes were among the hardest hit by the various tornadoes. There were also several miraculous stories of survivors.
Tornadoes Creates Unique Survival Tales
“The place started shaking, kind of twisting,” Brittany Ross told the Guardian newspaper outside the wreckage of her trailer home in eastern New Orleans. In a scene reminiscent of “The Wizard of Oz,” the tornado lifted her trailer off the ground and slammed it down. Ross and three other persons managed to crawl out of the wreckage.
In Killian, east of Baton Rouge, Mayor Craig McGehee told the Associated Press that several houses were destroyed and several others damaged. He said an elderly couple that escaped from the wreckage of their home were the only ones to suffer injuries that he knew of.
"How you manage to get blown completely across the street with cinderblocks flying and [have] no worse than a couple broken limbs — apparently the good Lord was looking after them," McGehee said.
Mother and Child Safe after Tornado Takes Them into Storm Vortex
In perhaps the strangest case of survival, a Louisiana woman described how she held on to her 8-week-old daughter as a tornado ripped through the auto impound lot where she worked. Amanda Stockfelt told Fox 8 Live that she brought her daughter, Autumn, to work at the impound lot near NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility because she had to take the infant for a checkup later that day.
When Stockfelt heard the tornado approaching, she buckled the child into her car seat and put her underneath her work desk. She then locked her arm around the handle of the seat and got under the desk with her daughter.
“We heard the trailer coming apart and then we flipped over backwards and then it's like the trailer exploded and me and the baby went flying through the air and I saw the sky, the inside of the vortex. I saw her and her car seat above my head and then we hit the ground,” Stockfelt recounted in the TV interview.
Stockfelt said all she could think about as she flew through the air was, “Don’t let go!”
“I couldn't think of anything else because I knew if I let go I wouldn't be able to find her and I didn't know if she was dead, I didn't know if she was home, I didn't care about me, I didn’t even feel my injuries until hours later. I was just worried about her, that's it,” Stockfelt said.
There could be more such heroic stories. The tornado watch in Louisiana and Mississippi expired Wednesday afternoon, ABC News reported. But tornado watches remained in effect for parts of Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida Panhandle.
About the Author
David E. Hubler brings a variety of government, journalism and teaching experience to his position as a Quality Assurance Editor at APUS. David’s professional background includes serving as a senior editor at CIA and the Voice of America. He has also been a managing editor for several business-to-business and business-to-government publishing companies. David has taught high school English in Connecticut and at Northern Virginia Community College. He has a master’s degree for Teachers of English from the University of New Hampshire and a B.A. in English from New York University. In March 2017, Rowman & Littlefield will publish the paperback edition of David’s latest book, “The Nats and the Grays, How Baseball in the Nation’s Capital Survived WWII and Changed the Game Forever.”