- Associated Press - Monday, December 28, 2015

SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) - A line of storms damaged buildings and cut power across Louisiana on Sunday night and Monday morning, but no injuries were reported.

Strong winds blew trees onto at least eight mobile homes in Blanchard, northwest of Shreveport. A business and several homes had roof damage. Several oil tanks at an oil well also caught fire near Blanchard, but the fire was reported contained Monday morning.

On the eastern side of the state, officials prepared for possible flooding along the rising Mississippi. Forecasts show the river is likely to crest in mid-January in an unusual wintertime flood, even as a levee near Lake Providence was damaged in a landslide.

The National Weather Service said trees were reported down in at least 11 other parishes, mostly in northern Louisiana. The weather service’s Shreveport office was surveying Monday for tornadoes but hadn’t declared any of the Louisiana storms to be twisters.

“There’s a good probability that there were several tornadoes,” meteorologist-in-charge Mario Valverde told The Associated Press Monday morning. The same storm system produced tornadoes in east Texas, southeast Oklahoma, southern Arkansas and Mississippi.



Stella Roseinsky, who lives at the Country Air Mobile Home Park in Blanchard, said she took shelter in her closet when her home started to move and the birds and animals outside became quiet.

“It uprooted the tree in the neighbors’ yard,” Roseinsky told KTBS-TV. “It came over and fell on a trailer and my house. I’m just shocked and thankful that God spared us.”

At 6 a.m. Monday, almost 19,000 power customers were without electricity statewide. By 4 p.m., that number fell to less than 2,000, mostly concentrated in St. John the Baptist Parish.

National Weather Service hydrologist Marty Pope says that flood crests on the Lower Mississippi below the mouth of the Arkansas River won’t set overall records, but will probably be the highest ever recorded in winter.

“We’re looking at water stretching from levee to levee,” Pope told reporters Monday in Pearl, Mississippi.

The river is predicted to crest in Greenville, Mississippi on Jan. 14, with the peak water traveling downstream to Natchez, Mississippi, by Jan. 18.

Heavy rainfall has already inundated a levee in northeast Louisiana. Part of the Mississippi River levee near Alsatia, in East Carroll Parish, collapsed. Greg Raimondo, a spokesman for the Vicksburg District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, says the district plans to activate its flood-fighting plan on Jan. 1, increasing patrols along levees, looking for sand boils, seepage and landslides.

Raimondo said Corps officials are concerned that a levee collapsed before the river really began rising.

“This is a different kind of flood than we had down here in 2011,” Raimondo said. “In 2011, we were in a drought down here.”

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