Storm's worst mostly misses St Mary Parish
St. Mary Parish was spared the worst of a much-anticipated storm system that killed at least 12 people as it spawned tornadoes in the South and dumped winter weather in the upper Midwest on Friday and Saturday.
But the parish still felt the effects.
Cleco reported that 62 St. Mary customers were among the more than 12,000 homes and businesses that lost power in Louisiana on Saturday.
By 5 p.m. Saturday, only about 242 Cleco customers in Grant and Rapides parishes were without power. The National Weather Service in Lake Charles reported wind gusts of up to 48 mph, or 11 mph above the sustained-winds threshold for a tropical storm, on Saturday in the Alexandria area.
Also in St. Mary, Vitalant said the holidays and the severe weather alert in the Morgan City area caused the cancellation of blood drives and the adjustment of hours for the donation center.
Vitalant appealed for donors after it said it was down 21,000 donations. Vitalant reported that it had less than half the four-day supply of type O blood it tries to maintain.
The Morgan City donation center will be open until 4 p.m. Monday and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday and Wed-nesday.
You can schedule an appointment at vitalant.org or call 877-258-4825. Walk-ins are welcome.
The National Weather Service gauge at Harry P. Williams Memorial Airport near Patterson recorded south and southeast winds of 18-25 mph from about midnight Friday until about 7 a.m. Saturday, with gusts of up to 36 mph.
More 30 mph gusts were recorded Saturday afternoon.
Only trace amounts of rain were recorded.
Temperatures dropped briefly but sharply, too. The mercury fell from 73 degrees at 7 a.m. Saturday to 45 degrees by dawn Sunday.
Elsewhere in Louisiana, media reported at least three deaths, including a couple killed when their Bossier Parish mobile home was demolished by 135 mph winds.
Another man was killed when a tree fell on a home in nearby Caddo Parish. Interstate 20, which cuts across north Louisiana, was closed at one point.
In south Louisiana, Facebook photos showed wind damage to homes and other structures in Vermilion and Lafayette.
Gov. John Bel Edwards scheduled a trip to examine storm damage Saturday in Bossier. But the Governor’s Office reported later that the trip was canceled because the weather conditions remained unsettled.
Three people were killed by an apparent tornado in Pickens County, Alabama, and at least three people died in Texas, including a Lubbock police officer and firefighter who were struck as they worked at a crash scene. Wind flipped a car into a creek near Dallas, resulted in another fatality.
Damage to homes was reported in Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas and Kentucky.
Warm temperatures in St. Mary are expected in the early part of this week, and a chance of storms will continue into Tuesday.
The most significant threats are lightning and fog, the National Weather Service said.