Storm slapped Tri-City area

At least five big trees were reported to have fallen in Patterson during Friday’s thunderstorm including this tree that fell on Lindsey Cuvillier’s vehicle as she was driving down First Street. Patterson Mayor Rodney Grogan, right, was on scene and reported the woman and her 2-year-old child escaped serious injury.
(Submitted Photo Courtesy of Patterson Mayor Rodney Grogan)

Rain and strong winds felled trees and downed power lines in the Tri-City area Friday, but the National Weather Service in Lake Charles said despite the damages, there were no tornadoes.
Cleco spokeswoman Robbyn Cooper said more than 1,500 of their customers in Bayou Vista, Centerville and Verdunville were without electricity around noon Friday.
About 650 customers in Bayou Vista were without power from 11:15 a.m. to 1:32 p.m.; 590 customers in Centerville from 12:04 p.m. to 12:44 p.m.; and about 315 customers in Verdunville from 11:28 a.m. to 1:45 p.m., Cooper said.
“These were all caused by weather-related issues of downed lines or trees falling on lines,” Cooper said.
All of Cleco’s crews from New Iberia, Franklin and Patterson were dispatched to repair the lines during the storm, Cooper said.
Patterson Mayor Rodney Grogan said a Patterson woman and her 2-year-old child narrowly escaped serious injury when a tree fell on the car they were in on First Street in Patterson. Grogan called it a blessing that no one was injured beyond some scratches in the event.
There were at least five older, dying trees that fell in Patterson during the storm, he said.
This could be taken as a warning of what can take place if dying trees are left to fall on their own and homeowners do not cut them down before a storm takes them down, Grogan said.
“I would ask that citizens take an inventory of their property and see if they have damaged trees that need to be taken care of,” Grogan said. Otherwise they could fall in an uncontrolled event causing damage or injury, he said.
Grogan said something struck a waterline at the aging water plant and officials were forced to make emergency repairs to a hole in the pipe.
“It was hard to find a private welder to do the work, but we got it repaired by Friday evening,” Grogan said. While the plant went into a limited shutdown, workers were able to continue to monitor and regulate the water and did not have to issue a “boil water” advisory, he said.
Morgan City Utilities Director Bill Cefalu said about 200 customers were affected by a 90-minute power outage near the Atchafalaya River in Morgan City. He said the Second and Sixth street feeders were shut down, which affected customers from Front Street to Sixth Street between Onstead Street and Brashear Avenue.
A tree fell on a power line behind a set of apartments on First Street in Morgan City and smoke was rising through the branches of another tree on Onstead Street where crews had to cut branches away from the power lines.
Grogan said power outages in Patterson were limited and of short duration.
Cooper said when power lines fall, there is little that anyone can do but to call 911 or the power company and to “stay safe” by staying away from the lines.
“The lights might be out in your house, but that power line could still be energized,” Cooper warned.
Lance Escude, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Lake Charles, said a special weather statement for strong thunderstorms was issued at 11:30 a.m. Friday.
The Morgan City weather service observer reported 0.82 inches of rainfall during the 24-hour period from Friday morning to Saturday morning, Escude said. The New Iberia weather station reported 0.41 inches.

By PRESTON GILL pgill@daily-review.com

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