EF-2 tornado touches down in Port Arthur, Jasper County experiences major flooding following overnight storms

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By Wednesday afternoon the a damage assessment team from the National Weather Service had visited Port Arthur.

BEAUMONT, Texas — A tornado touched down in Port Arthur early Wednesday morning as thunderstorms passed through Southeast Texas overnight and into Wednesday morning leaving behind power outages, damage and flooding in portions of Southeast Texas. 

By Wednesday afternoon the damage assessment team from the National Weather Service had visited Port Arthur.

Their preliminary results showed that an EF-2 tornado with max winds of 120 mph did touch down in Port Arthur, according to Doug Cramer, the Warning Coordination Meteorologist with the National Weather Service-Lake Charles.

In Port Arthur, several structures were heavily damaged due to the tornado.

During a news conference on Wednesday Port Arthur Mayor Thurman Bartie urged any residents with damage due to the storm to report it by filling out an online form.

MORE | Report Port Arthur storm damage

Residents are highly encouraged to fill out the online form but if they don’t have web access they can call the Port Arthur Emergency Management Department at 409-983-8139 or 409-983-8133.

Callers will need to leave a message with their address, information about their damage and contact information.

A home on 11th St. in Port Arthur appeared to have been destroyed.

Heavy damage was also reported a block away in the 1900 block of Thomas in Port Arthur.

Progressive Missionary Baptist Church on 13th St. in Port Arthur was also heavily damaged.

At 5:23 a.m. the weather service issued a tornado warning for Jefferson County until 5:45 a.m.

At 5:44 a.m. the tornado was extended to 6:15 a.m. and specifically mentioned Port Arthur, Groves and  Port Neches.

In Jasper County, a disaster declaration was issued Wednesday morning by a Judge Mark Allen.

Major flooding has been reported around Kirbyville.

The weather service issued a “Flash Flood Emergency” until 11:30 a.m. for portions of Tyler, Jasper and Newton Counties that includes Roganville, Kirbyville and Newton. 

Several homes in Jasper and Newton County and have been damaged by flooding and several people have been evacuated, Jasper County Judge Mark Allen told 12News Wednesday morning. He was awaiting more information on exactly how many were affected.

Jasper County first responders have been doing search and rescue since calls for help began coming at about 2 a.m. he said.

Jasper County’s emergency operations center was activated in Jasper and Buna he said.

Area fire departments, Texas Task Force One and Texas Parks & Wildlife are working together Allen said.

They are using high water vehicles to get people to temporary shelters.


The American Red Cross has opened a shelter at Empowerment Church located at 3600 Memorial Boulevard beginning at 4:00 p.m. Residents seeking assistance should contact the Red Cross at (409) 832-1644 for additional details.

The Red Cross has opened shelters in Kirbyville and Colmesneil for those displaced by flooding.

In Jasper County, a Red Cross shelter has been opened at the First Assembly of God Church in Kirbyville at 101 West Trout St.

A Red Cross shelter has also been opened for Tyler County residents at Colmesneil High School.

Anyone evacuating to a Red Cross shelter should bring essential items for each member of the family:
    •    Prescriptions and emergency medications
    •    Foods that meet unusual dietary requirements
    •    Identification and important personal documents 
    •    Extra clothing, pillows, blankets, hygiene supplies and other comfort items
    •    Supplies needed for children and infants, such as diapers, formula and toys
    •    Special items for family members who are elderly or disabled
    •    Chargers for any electronic devices you bring with you
    •    Books, games and other ways to entertain your family and yourself

If you were impacted and need Red Cross assistance, please call 1-800-Red-Cross.


There are several road closures and flooded roads in Hardin, Tyler, Jasper and Newton Counties as well as one in West Orange along Texas Highway 87.

Currently the following roads are closed in the northern counties according to TxDOT’s website at DriveTexas.org.

  • FM1943 between west of Warren and between Warren and Fred
  • FM1013 between Hillister and Spurger
  • FM1004 from U.S. Highway 96 to U.S. Highway 69
  • FM363 from U.S. Highway 96 to U.S. Highway 190

Jasper County Sheriff’s Office shared road closures going into Kirbyville and is advising that drivers avoid the area at this time

  • FM 363 is closed going into Kirbyville
  • FM 252 is closed going into Kirbyville
  • Highway 96 is closed going into Kirbyville
  • FM 1004 E is closed going into Kirbyville
  • FM 777 between County Road 317 and and County Road 138 is closed

JCSO is asking drivers to drive slowly near Call Junction because wakes are pushing water in the church.

To travel around the city they advise drivers going Northbound to take Highway 96 N to FM 82, right to Highway 87, then north to Highway 190.

For drivers going Southbound they can take Highway 190 to Highway 87 down to FM 82 and out to Highway 96 S.

Check DriveTexas.org for more details and updated info.


Power has been restored to more than 77% of customers within 12 hours of the initial impact, according to Entergy.

At 9:50 a.m. more than 7,000 Entergy customers were without power. 

As of 4:55 p.m. more than 4,100 customers are without power.

Here’s a breakdown of outages by county…

  • Hardin County: 121
  • Jefferson County: 2,414
  • Liberty County: 373
  • Orange County: 999
  • Tyler County: 286

Entergy has an online outage map where you can view outages in their service area.

Restoration times are estimates only according to the Entergy website.

MORE | Entergy Outage Map


  • Newton ISD will be closed for the remainder of the week due to flooding conditions. Saturday school on April 13 will also be canceled.
  • Kirbyville CISD will be closed on Thursday, April 11.
  • Warren ISD will be closed Thursday, April 11.

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This is a developing story. We will update with more if and when we receive more confirmed information.

Here’s some tips from the Entergy website on how to stay safe during an outage…

  • Create an emergency preparedness kit, including a flashlight, batteries, and first aid supplies.
  • Maintain supplies of healthy and filling snacks that don’t require refrigeration, such as dried fruits, nuts and protein bars.
  • Make sure you have alternative charging methods for your phone or any device that requires power.
  • Purchase ice or freeze water-filled plastic containers to help keep food cold during a temporary power outage.
  • Learn about the emergency plans established in your area by contacting your state or local emergency management agency.
  • If you rely on anything that’s battery-operated or power dependent, such as a medical device, have a backup plan.
  • Maintain backup generators according to manufacturers’ recommendations and store an adequate supply of fuel in a safe place.

During an outage, disconnect or switch off appliances and electronic equipment that were running when the power went out. Avoid opening refrigerators and freezers to save cold air and preserve food longer.

Generators | Operate backup generators safely by following manufacturer’s instructions. Don’t attempt to connect your generator to the electrical system; it can backfeed to outdoor utility lines and injure or kill utility service personnel. An automatic transfer switch — installed by a qualified electrician — will help to ensure safe operation. Learn more here.

Refrigerated foods | Discard any perishable items in your refrigerator or freezer that may not be safe to consume. A refrigerator keeps food at a safe temperature for up to four hours during a power outage if it remains closed. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends discarding foods such as meat, poultry and eggs if they’ve been above 40°F for more than two hours. Learn more here.

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