NWS upgrades rating of tornado that hit Mansfield paper plant - Tucson News Now

BREAKING

NWS upgrades rating of tornado that hit Mansfield paper plant

Employees reported the suspected tornado dropped out of the sky without warning, damaging several vehicles parked at the facility. (Melinda Deas) Employees reported the suspected tornado dropped out of the sky without warning, damaging several vehicles parked at the facility. (Melinda Deas)
While the storm was brief, StormTracker 12 Chief Meteorologist Jeff Castle says radar captured indications of a possible brief spin-up over the International Paper Plant. While the storm was brief, StormTracker 12 Chief Meteorologist Jeff Castle says radar captured indications of a possible brief spin-up over the International Paper Plant.
(Source: Melinda Deas) (Source: Melinda Deas)
MANSFIELD, LA (KSLA) - A warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service confirmed that an EF-1 tornado touched down at the International Paper Company in Mansfield near the Red River Parish line on Tuesday afternoon.

Bill Parker, who originally thought the tornado was an EF-0, said the tornado had wind speeds of 85 to 95 mph. He said the spin up happened very quickly.

"I would have to go back to the office and talk to the meteorologist that were working to understand what they were looking at the time," he said. "But no, we didn't have a warning out for this storm." 

It happened around 2:19 p.m. at the plant in the 1200 block of Louisiana Highway 509. There was no warning in effect for that area at the time the damaging winds came through. Employees reported the tornado dropped out of the sky without warning, damaging several vehicles parked at the facility, which manufactures container board for the the production of boxes. 

While the storm was brief, StormTracker 12 Chief Meteorologist Jeff Castle says radar captured indications of a possible brief spin-up over the plant. A full assessment of conditions at the plant is in progress and there was no work stoppage, according to IP officials. 

The DeSoto Parish Sheriff's Office and the Office of Emergency Preparedness confirms the event damaged some vehicles at the plant. There were no reported injuries.

Employee Jessie Wooten was inside a mobile home office at the time of the tornado.

"It was on top of us before I even realized what was going on," Wooten said, adding one of his co-workers spotted it first and yelled for everyone to run. 

"I looked up and the funnel cloud was right here," he explained.

In cases of severe weather, emergency protocol at the mill requires all employees to get to designated sturdy buildings. According to Wooten, the only thing on his mind was to run to that building. 

"As big as I am, I can't run that fast, but trust me, I ran as fast as I could," Wooten said. "The guys behind me said, 'Don't stop now.'"

Employees described the chaos lasting about two minutes, but in that short time, the wind was able to do a lot of damage. Trees and branches could be seen all over the parking lot, a car had been turned onto its side. Metal sheeting collapsed, and several vehicles were damaged. 

The DeSoto Parish Sheriff's Office responded to the scene and helped the employees make vehicle damage claims. Employees could be seen helping each other out, sharing duct tape and plastic bags to patch up blown out windows.

Mill manager Kevin Driscoll says most of the damage was minor and he's grateful nobody was hurt. 

According to Driscoll, they will be doing a thorough damage assessment Wednesday, and will come up with a detail repair plan.

The financial damage to the mill has not yet been calculated.

Anyone with any reportable damage is urged to contact the sheriff's office at (318) 872-3956.

Copyright 2014 KSLA. All rights reserved. 

  • Local newsMore>>

  • Police ID man shot, killed by officers at cemetery in Tucson

    Police ID man shot, killed by officers at cemetery in Tucson

    Saturday, May 27 2017 4:13 PM EDT2017-05-27 20:13:57 GMT
    Joseph Zimmerman, 34, was shot and killed Friday night, according to TPD (Source: Tucson News Now).Joseph Zimmerman, 34, was shot and killed Friday night, according to TPD (Source: Tucson News Now).

    Police in Tucson released new details about a deadly shooting involving police officers on the south side of the city Friday night.. An update from Tucson Police Department Saturday afternoon identified the man who died as 34-year-old Joseph Zimmerman.

    Police in Tucson released new details about a deadly shooting involving police officers on the south side of the city Friday night.. An update from Tucson Police Department Saturday afternoon identified the man who died as 34-year-old Joseph Zimmerman.

  • Overnight crash leaves three hurt, baby dead near border crossing

    Overnight crash leaves three hurt, baby dead near border crossing

    Saturday, May 27 2017 2:24 PM EDT2017-05-27 18:24:12 GMT

    A six-month-old child is dead and three other people hurt after a four-car crash near the Lukeville Port of Entry. According to Arizona Department of Public Safety, the crash happened on State Route 85 heading south near Lukeville late Friday night.

    A six-month-old child is dead and three other people hurt after a four-car crash near the Lukeville Port of Entry. According to Arizona Department of Public Safety, the crash happened on State Route 85 heading south near Lukeville late Friday night.

  • Pima Co. Flood Control restores Burrowing owl habitat

    Pima Co. Flood Control restores Burrowing owl habitat

    Saturday, May 27 2017 1:17 AM EDT2017-05-27 05:17:54 GMT
    (Source: Pima County)(Source: Pima County)

    Volunteers from Flood Control, Wild at Heart, the Tucson Audubon Society and Tucson Electric Power built 16 new burrows using plastic buckets, tubing, and PVC pipes to mimic natural burrows. These burrows were then covered in rock to provide additional protection to the habitat entrances.  

    Volunteers from Flood Control, Wild at Heart, the Tucson Audubon Society and Tucson Electric Power built 16 new burrows using plastic buckets, tubing, and PVC pipes to mimic natural burrows. These burrows were then covered in rock to provide additional protection to the habitat entrances.  

Powered by Frankly