The man killed when a tornado ripped through a stretch of homes in Palmetto early Saturday has been identified as 27-year-old Jose Antonio Higareda of Opelousas, St. Landry Parish President Jessie Bellard confirmed.
Higareda was identified by family members and has been released to Williams Funeral Home, Bellard said. His family plans to take him back to Mexico for a funeral, he said.
Higareda worked at a farm only blocks from his home in Palmetto. His home was lifted off its foundation by winds and Higareda was thrown from the home. He was breathing when first-responders arrived on the scene, but died en route to the hospital, authorities said.
The winds that tore through the small St. Landry Parish community were about 130-140 miles per hour, according to Roger Erickson of the National Weather Service. He estimated it was an EF2 or EF3 tornado.
The parish received the first 911 call about the damage at Bolden Road and La. 359 from a SLEMCO crew at 2:20 a.m. Fifteen homes were damaged and five or six vehicles were destroyed as they were blown apart by the winds, while a large grain hopper trailer was tossed into the roadway and a home was picked off its pillars and settled back down on the street, Bellard said.
No search and rescue efforts were underway Saturday morning because all residents had been accounted for. Of the seven people transported to hospitals, five have been released, one patient remains hospitalized in Lafayette and another in Alexandria, Bellard said.
One person has been confirmed dead and seven others were taken to area hospitals after a tornado ripped through a stretch of homes in Palmetto…
Editor's note: A previous version of this story stated Higareda was 28. He is 27. The Acadiana Advocate regrets the error.