Monday storm brings damage, school closings
Last updated 5/9/2023 at 7:21pm
Schools in West Orange-Cove and Orangefield, along with classes for LSCO, were canceled Tuesday because of widespread damage after a severe thunderstorm with small hail ripped westward across Orange County late Monday afternoon.
The storm left widespread damage with numerous trees and power poles down everywhere from the Bridge City-Orangefield area up to McLewis. Parts of Pinehurst along with downtown Orange and the old Orange Historic District appear to have the worse damage.
Tornado warnings were issued, but as of this morning, there is no confirmation on whether the storm created any twisters. The National Weather Service in Lake Charles has meteorologists surveying the damage to determine whether one or more tornadoes hit spots, or whether the damage was from strong straight-line winds.
Tin roofs were ripped off in Orange and Pinehurst, light poles and power poles were broken. A number of trees and big limbs were blown down across the county.
The wind blew out windows in the old Orange area and even blew water through window sills and into cars. Barges at a shipyard along the Sabine River broke loose of their moorings and blew around the river crescent. They ended up along the banks of the city's Riverfront Pavilion and Boardwalk.
The Orange County Airport gauge had winds up to 36 mph, but videos of the storm from downtown Orange make it appear the winds were of tropical storm to hurricane force strong. Tropical storm winds begin at 40 mph and hurricane-strength is 74 mph.
The Stark Cultural Venues of Shangri La Gardens, Stark Museum of Art, Stark House, and Lutcher Theater are also closed because of outages. In addition, the Salvation Army is closed for the day after losing power.
The Record will have an update on the storm later.