Louisiana is part of “Dixie Alley” which, like “Tornado Alley,” experiences a high frequency of tornadoes, due to atmospheric conditions. (link to Tornado vs Dixie) Here are a few historical facts about tornadoes:
- The deadliest tornado in Louisiana's history occurred on April 24, 1908, in Amite and Purvis. The tornado killed 143 people and injured 770 more.
- In 1975, an outbreak of tornadoes struck Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, resulting in 47 deaths and over 700 injuries.
- The largest outbreak of tornadoes in Louisiana's history occurred on February 23, 2016, when 33 tornadoes touched down in the state, causing widespread damage and killing two people.
- On April 2, 1982, a tornado outbreak struck Louisiana, resulting in 13 deaths and more than 150 injuries.
- Louisiana typically experiences more tornadoes in the spring and fall months, but tornadoes can occur at any time of the year.
- The strongest tornado ever recorded in Louisiana was an EF4 tornado that hit the town of DeRidder on December 19, 1957, killing two people and injuring 27.
- In 2019, a tornado touched down in New Orleans, causing damage to buildings and infrastructure but no fatalities.
- According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Louisiana ranks 14th among all US states for tornado frequency.
- The peak tornado season in Louisiana is from March to May, with a secondary peak in November.
Documented Louisiana tornadoes since 1950
Know when severe weather is about to strike and when it's time for you to take shelter with our StormWarn texting program.
Preparing for Tornadoes in Louisiana
Tornadoes are a frequent occurrence in Louisiana, and as such, it is crucial for residents to prepare and be vigilant for their safety. Preparing for a tornado can make a significant difference in minimizing the damage and the loss of life that occurs during a severe weather event. Louisiana residents should take necessary measures to ensure that they are well-prepared in case of a tornado.
One of the critical steps in tornado preparedness is to stay informed and be aware of weather forecasts. Tornadoes can strike quickly, and having access to up-to-date weather information can help residents stay alert and take action to protect themselves and their families. It is advisable to sign up for weather alerts and emergency notifications to stay informed about any severe weather conditions. There are even location-based alert systems that can tell you when your home is in danger from a tornado that touches down.
Another critical step is to have an emergency kit that includes essential items such as food, water, first aid supplies, and a battery-powered radio. It is also important to have a plan in place for where to go during a tornado, such as a designated safe room or shelter. Having your own home tornado shelter is the best way to ensure that all members of your family are safe. If there is no designated safe space, it is recommended to go to the lowest level of a building and take cover in a small, interior room without windows.
Regularly reviewing and updating your emergency plan can also be helpful. Practice tornado drills with family members or coworkers to ensure everyone knows what to do in case of an emergency.
Finally, it is essential to stay calm during a tornado and listen to instructions from local authorities. Panic and confusion can lead to poor decision-making, so it is important to remain level-headed and follow safety guidelines.
By taking the steps above, residents can minimize the risks and potential damage caused by tornadoes.
Tornado Shelters in Louisiana
There are several resources available to find public tornado shelters in Louisiana. Here are a few options:
- Each parish in Louisiana has an Emergency Management Agency (EMA) that provides information about public tornado shelters. You can find the contact information for your local EMA by searching online for your parish's name followed by "Emergency Management Agency."
- The American Red Cross often sets up tornado shelters in affected areas during severe weather events. You can find information about Red Cross tornado shelters by visiting their website or calling their toll-free number at 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) also provides information about tornado shelters and other emergency resources in Louisiana. You can visit their website or call their toll-free number at 1-800-621-3362 for more information.
- The Louisiana State Police maintains a list of public tornado shelters on their website. You can access the list by visiting their website and clicking on the "Emergency Information" tab.
- Your local news outlets may also provide information about public tornado shelters in their coverage area. You can search for news articles or contact your local news station for more information. Be sure to do this ahead of severe weather, so that you are not caught during the storm looking for a place to go.
It is important to note that not all areas have designated public tornado shelters, and in some cases, individuals may need to take cover in their homes or businesses. It is recommended to have a plan in place for where to go during a tornado and to stay informed about weather conditions to ensure your safety.
Louisiana Tornado Safety Tips
Tornadoes can be incredibly dangerous, and it is essential to take precautions to stay safe during severe weather events. Here are some tornado safety tips for Louisiana residents:
- Monitor weather forecasts and alerts to stay aware of any severe weather conditions. Pay attention to tornado watches and warnings, which indicate that tornadoes are possible or imminent.
- Create a tornado emergency plan for your family, including where to go and what to do during a tornado. Designate a safe space in your home or business, such as an interior room on the lowest level without windows. If you live in a mobile home, identify a sturdy building or shelter to evacuate to during a tornado warning. The best protection option may be to install your own residential tornado shelter. There are plenty of above-ground tornado shelter options that are perfect for areas where underground is not an option. And, the good news is that above-ground shelters are just as safe as underground.
- Practice tornado drills with your family or coworkers, so everyone knows what to do in case of an emergency. Make sure everyone knows where to go and how to stay safe during a tornado. If a tornado does occur, stay calm and listen to instructions from local authorities. Avoid panic and follow safety guidelines.
- If you are in a tornado warning area, take cover immediately. Cover your head with your hands or a helmet, and protect yourself from flying debris. If you are in a vehicle, exit and take shelter in a nearby building or lie flat in a ditch or low-lying area.
- During a tornado, stay away from windows, as they can break and shatter, causing serious injury.
- Keep an emergency kit that includes water, non-perishable food, a first-aid kit, a flashlight, and a battery-powered radio. Make sure you have a way to charge your phone and have extra batteries.
By following these tornado safety tips, Louisiana residents can take steps to protect themselves and their families during severe weather events. Remember to stay informed, have a plan, and stay calm in case of an emergency.
FAQs About Tornadoes And Shelters in Louisiana
Q: What types of buildings are recommended as tornado shelters in Louisiana?
A: The safest structures for tornado shelters in Louisiana are those that are built with reinforced concrete, with no windows, like designated tornado shelters. The safest will be made my manufacturers who are aligned with the National Storm Shelter Association (NSSA) and tested by the Texas Tech Wind Institute. If a tornado shelter is not available, the best course of action is to stay on the lowest level of a sturdy building or home, in an interior window, away from windows.
Q: Are there any public tornado shelters available in rural areas of Louisiana?
A: Yes, there are public tornado shelters available in rural areas of Louisiana. However, it's essential to check with your local emergency management office to find the nearest shelter.
Q: Are there any designated tornado shelters for individuals with disabilities in Louisiana?
A: Yes, some public tornado shelters in Louisiana are designated for individuals with disabilities. Check with your local emergency management office to find the nearest shelter that can accommodate your needs. If there is no public tornado shelter in your parish, it’s a good idea to consider adding your own residential tornado shelter. This will allow you to consider all family members and even pets.
Q: What should I bring with me to a tornado shelter in Louisiana?
A: It's recommended to bring a few essential items with you, such as a first aid kit, medications, important documents, water, and a few non-perishable food items. If you’re sheltering at home, you can keep these things in your shelter.
Q: Can pets be brought to tornado shelters in Louisiana?
A: Some tornado shelters in Louisiana allow pets, while others do not. Contact your local emergency management office to find out the pet policies of the nearest shelter. People will be prioritized before pets.
Q: How often are public tornado shelters inspected for safety in Louisiana?
A: Public tornado shelters in Louisiana are inspected regularly to ensure they meet the safety requirements and can withstand severe weather conditions.
Q: What is the capacity of public tornado shelters in Louisiana?
A: The capacity of public tornado shelters in Louisiana varies, depending on the size and location of the shelter. It's recommended to check with your local emergency management office to find out the capacity of the nearest shelter. Some businesses may also open up their shelters during public emergencies, but it’s best to prepare ahead of time and find out how likely it is you will find space there.
Q: How long can I expect to stay in a tornado shelter in Louisiana during a severe weather event?
A: The duration of a stay in a tornado shelter in Louisiana depends on the severity of the weather event. It's recommended to be prepared to stay in the shelter for at least several hours.
Q: How can I find out if a tornado shelter in Louisiana is currently open and available for use?
A: It's recommended to check with your local emergency management office to find out if a tornado shelter in Louisiana is currently open and available for use. They can provide you with the latest information and instructions during a severe weather event.