Baker tornado confirmed, shelter opened
BATON ROUGE - The National Weather Service confirmed that damage in Baker this morning was caused by a tornado.
The NWS report said the damage was consistent with an EF 1 tornado. They said it touched down on U. S. Hwy 61, and its damage path ended four miles away near La. 67.
Baker Police said several homes had trees ripped up trees and powerlines in one neighborhood, plunging it into darkness. A roof was also ripped off a car wash.
EBR Mayor-President Kip Holden signed a local disaster declaration this afternoon in a response to the severe weather. The declaration activates the parish's emergency plans, and Holden's office said MOHSEP workers were doing preliminary damage assessments in certain areas.
Baker emergency officials declared a walking curfew from dusk until dawn, which means people will not be allowed to walk around the city until daylight Tuesday. People will be allowed to drive around as normal.
The Red Cross also announced they were opening a shelter in Zachary starting at 6 p.m. for people with storm-related damages.The shelter is at Bethany World Prayer Center, located at 13855 Plank Road. People going should bring the following items:
· prescription and emergency medication
· medical equipment such as a wheelchair/walker, oxygen, etc.
· extra clothing
· blankets and sleeping bags
· hygiene supplies
· specialty snacks and juices for those with dietary restrictions
· supplies for infants
· other comfort items
Additionally, special items for children and infants, such as diapers, formulas and toys, should be brought, along with other items for family members who are elderly or disabled.
The city's emergency operations center is open and will be staffed overnight. People with questions can reach them by calling 911.