ST. AMANT — Straight-line winds from a strong evening thunderstorm knocked out power, tore the roof off a business and rocked cars on the road Tuesday in eastern Ascension Parish, officials said Wednesday.
St. Amant Fire Chief James LeBlanc estimated winds in the summer storm blew for about 20 minutes, tearing off the roof of Martinez Seafood at La. 431 and Black Bayou Road about 6:15 p.m.
Winds up to 60 mph apparently caused the damage, said Christopher Bannan, meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
Bannan said straight-line winds or a microburst of wind apparently caused Tuesday’s damage.
The roof damage resulted in the loss of more than 300 pounds of freshly boiled crabs, shrimp and peanuts that had been prepared for the evening rush, Martinez Seafood owner Tim Bourque said.
Bourque said one of his employees called him “in a panic” around 6:30 p.m. Tuesday reporting water was pouring from the building’s ceiling lights.
The employee had no idea the roof had been blown off the building, Bourque said. Power at the store had to be disconnected to prevent further damage, he said.
Bourque, his wife, Aaron, and son, Tyler, who work at the business, were waiting Wednesday morning for roofers to install a temporary roof.
Bourque said he had to close the business and discard his stock of seafood, but hopes to reopen soon.
LeBlanc said the winds forced cars to pull to the side of the road and power was out until late in the evening in the St. Amant area.
During the storm, separate car crashes occurred at about the same time at La. 431 and Goldplace Road and at La. 431 and La. 429, LeBlanc said. No one was injured in either wreck, LeBlanc said.
LeBlanc said he has not seen a storm so damaging in St. Amant since tornados struck the area about two years ago.