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Tornado reportedly hits Louisiana town; one killed

Storm system moves toward New Orleans, canceling some Mardi Gras festivities

March 05, 2011|Tribune staff and wire reports
  • A building in Rayne, La., was left in ruins by a tornado that slammed into the town, killing a young mother who was sheltering her child and injuring 11 other people. More than 100 homes were damaged, many of them destroyed, authorities said, and about 1,500 people were evacuated because of natural gas leaks.
A building in Rayne, La., was left in ruins by a tornado that slammed into… (P.C. Piazza , Associated…)

RAYNE, La. — A tornado reportedly damaged more than 100 homes in southwest Louisiana Saturday, killing one woman, authorities said.

Witnesses reported seeing houses completely ripped from their foundations. Eleven people were reported injured.

The 21-year-old woman was killed when a tree fell on her house, said Maxine Trahan, a spokeswoman for the Acadia Parish sheriff. Debris was littered throughout Rayne, the town of about 8,500 people, after a line of violent thunderstorms moved through the area and left behind a swath of damage about a quarter of a mile wide to three miles long.

About 1,500 people were evacuated because of natural gas leaks.

Pieces of homes were strewn about the tops of trees and power lines were down.

The system that hit Rayne quickly moved east and drenched New Orleans, where several Mardi Gras parades either were delayed, started earlier or canceled because of the severe weather.

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