A strong EF-1 tornado ripped through a nearly four-mile path in Baton Rouge early Wednesday, the National Weather Service said in a report released later that night.
The report says the twister, with max winds of 110 mph, started at 4:47 a.m near Essen Lane and Interstate 10 and began a 3.84-mile track, tearing through the Westminster neighborhood, crossing Airline Highway and dissipating north of Interstate 12.
🌪️ Correction: First track of several tornadoes that occurred earlier today: East Baton Rouge Parish EF-1 left a path of damage across portions of Westminster, crossing Airline Highway at the I-12 intersection before dissipating north of I-12. #lawx #mswx pic.twitter.com/Pv4S6ey6uI— NWS New Orleans (@NWSNewOrleans) June 25, 2020
The tornado ended at 5 a.m. It was 100 yards wide at its peak. There were no injuries reported.
Otey White, who runs an advertising businesses in the 8100 block of One Calais Avenue, said when he and his family went to check on the damage to his building Wednesday morning, they noticed the company delivery truck was missing.
He later found the truck had been towed because it was blocking traffic on the interstate, a few hundred feet away from where it was parked.
A heavy storm that rolled through the Baton Rouge area overnight had enough force to uplift a vehicle.
Neither authorities nor White know if powerful winds rolled the Mazda B2300 onto the interstate or picked it up and dropped it there.
"Something moved that thing a long way," White said. "It looks like it went over the fence."
Throughout the day, he found pieces of the building and its roof wrapped around trees and scattered throughout Westminster. Weather officials haven't determined if a tornado spun through the area.
The Westminster neighborhood in Baton Rouge sustained a quick but forceful hit from the storm, which toppled a tree onto a home on North Maiden Drive and caused minor damage at many other homes.
Amy Waters, a resident in the area, said her family was awakened by the storm a few minutes before their phones started alerting them to a tornado warning.
"It sounded like debris was beating down on our house and by the time I realized what was happening it had already passed," she said. "The tornado warning went off about five minutes later. It all happened so fast and we were asleep."
The strengths of tornadoes are measured on the Enhanced Fujita (EF) scale. An EF-2 tornado begins with winds of 111 mph.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an EF-1 tornado typically "peels surface off roofs; mobile homes pushed off foundations or overturned; moving autos blown off roads."
Staff writers Emma Kennedy and Youssef Rddad contributed to this report.