Some Baton Rouge customers who lost power in the severe weather Monday may have to wait until Thursday before their power is restored, Entergy said in a news release Tuesday just after noon.
The company said 90 percent of Louisiana customers who lost power should have power restored by tonight, and it estimated that 90 percent of Baton Rouge customers should have power restored by Wednesday evening.
Power was expected to be restored by Tuesday afternoon to all customers in St. James and Ascension parishes, Entergy said.
Power should be restored to 90 percent of customers or more in the following parishes by Tuesday night: Iberville, Livingston, Pointe Coupe, West Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, West Feliciana, Lafayette, Iberia, St. Landry and Vermillion parishes.
As of 1 p.m. Tuesday, according to the Entergy outage map, 23,620 Entergy customers in East Baton Rouge were without power, 8,173 in Ascension, 3,591 in Assumption, 2,459 in Livingston and 635 in West Baton Rouge.
DEMCO was reporting 200 outages in Livingston Parish, 150 in Ascension and a handful in East Baton Rouge.
A severe thunderstorm that ripped through southeastern Louisiana on Monday, uprooting trees, flooding roadways and snapping power lines.
Several school were closed Tuesday, mostly because of power outages.
Entergy said crews were working to restore power and additional resources arrived overnight to assist.
Winds gusting in excess of 60 mph felled the foul poles at LSU’s baseball stadium, ripped power line poles in half in Port Allen and sent a tree through an elementary school in Denham Springs. Several buildings at LSU flooded and numerous roads across the region were at least temporarily underwater.
Although there were no confirmed tornadoes, according to the National Weather Service, there were a handful of unconfirmed funnel cloud sightings in several southeast Louisiana parishes.
For the most part, from West and East Baton Rouge to Livingston and Ascension parishes, much of the damage was limited to downed trees and power lines. Still, Gov. Bobby Jindal declared a state of emergency Monday afternoon because of the damage caused by the storm.
By Tuesday afternoon, Entergy hopes to have power restored to most of its Louisiana customers, said Will Johnson III, an Entergy spokesman, although some outages likely will remain past Tuesday.
“Our crews are still assessing the damage that’s been done,” Johnson said Monday evening. “And we are making repairs as safely and quickly as possible.”
The American Red Cross has opened a shelter in Baton Rouge at Woodlawn Baptist Church, 5805 Jones Creek Road.
Miraculously, injuries related to Monday’s storms appeared to be minimal.
And there was plenty of property damage.
The East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness received more than 230 calls for service on a combination of felled trees, powerless traffic signals, requests for barricades and drainage and sewage issues, said JoAnne Moreau, the agency’s director.
Moreau said the city activated the database that calls and alerts people about storms at 9:27 a.m., though the phone calls did not reach some people until well after the worst of the storms was finished.
The system cycles through a database, but people may not receive the message the first time if they did not answer their phones or if their connection had been lost, Moreau said.
“It’s difficult to place that many calls in that period of time,” she said. “The system could have called them four or five times trying to get them to answer the phone.”
Kim Burns was at work in Baton Rouge on Monday morning when she received a frantic call from her daughter. At first, her daughter couldn’t quite speak, Burns said, but eventually she spat out the news: A gum tree fell through their Glen Oaks neighborhood home.
“I never expected that tree to fall,” said Burns, 37, while looking at the gaping hole in the center of the roof on her Jewel Drive home. “It was just so big.”
No one was injured when the tree fell, Burns said, but it certainly scared her family members. Now she’s looking for a new place to stay.
Many large trees, some tens of feet high with trunks at least several feet wide, fell during Monday’s storm, blocking roadways in numerous parishes and prompting at least a few people to chop up felled trees and haul them away.
“Trying to do a good deed for the people,” Guy Mumphrey said, his chain saw roaring to life seconds later as he began to break up a felled tree in the front yard of Gary Jeffryes’ Garden District home.
“We’re lucky, actually,” Jeffryes said, noting how the tree, measuring perhaps 20 feet tall, fell sideways into his yard instead of backward into his home.
Marvin Doutrive, 46, experienced a brief panic before enjoying a similar sense of relief. Doutrive awoke to a loud crash and shaking ground before finding a tree in his front yard narrowly missed his Cadillac Street home, falling directly sideways and tearing down a power line with it.
He walked outside to survey the damage when a lightning bolt struck nearby.
“I ran back in the house,” Doutrive said, going back out once the storm passed to place an orange cone in the street where the felled power line sat.
Many more residents sought safety when a tornado warning was issued around 9 a.m. for several parishes and escaped with merely a few scary minutes taking shelter.
Mikaela Fuchs, a Myrtle Avenue resident, said she and her 8-month-old son Henry jumped into a bathtub after she received a text message alert about the tornado warning, hiding under a mattress for about fifteen minutes while watching YouTube videos to stay entertained. Once the storm passed, she and Henry strolled around the neighborhood assessing the damage.
Joany Lanneau, 45, said she and her son, 3-year-old Andrew, ran into a closet to avoid the 24 windows in her Myrtle Avenue home. As the storm rolled in, Lanneau sent text messages to her family members across the country, and her husband told her he could see the sky turning green from his office in a different part of the city.
“I was waiting to hear that train sound,” Lanneau said. “I was waiting to hear that roar.”
But the roar never came, and once the storm passed, she brought her son outside, where he played as she swept up a few stray branches.
The American Red Cross encouraged anyone in need of assistance to call its hotline at (800) 256-4733.
Advocate staff writers Andrea Gallo, Steve Hardy, Terry Jones, David Mitchell, Amy Wold and Charles Lussier contributed to this report. Follow Ben Wallace on Twitter, @_BenWallace.