Family and neighbors agree, Howard Johnson Jr. isn’t just a lucky man, he’s a blessed man. It all began Jan. 21 at 5:37 p.m. when the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office 911 Center received a call from Shreveport National Weather Service of a severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado near Natchitoches moving northeast at 35 mph.
Neighbors say they heard the sound of a freight train rolling through the area. A funnel cloud was reported to be forming south of Natchitoches moving northeast.
Howard said he must have dozed off while watching TV in his bedroom. The next thing Howard knew, his mobile home at 3365 Hwy. 494 started shaking. It flipped over one time and Howard landed in a hole formed by the rubble. He was able to crawl out and hold onto a tree by the road until the storm ended.
The following morning Howard began pulling some of his belongings from the wreckage. The floor of his home could be seen submerged in Cane River Lake.
Residences on Hwy. 494 in Natchez and across the water on Patrick Road in Point Place south of Natchitoches received damages.
Two people were transported to Natchitoches Regional Medical Center suffering from non-life threatening injuries while others suffered minor lacerations and bruises.
One man in Point Place was sucked out of his brick home through a front door and thrown in his front yard while his terrified wife held on to a handle in the kitchen. The home received heavy damage.
At this time, deputies believe 10-15 homes in the area were damaged by the possible tornado. Cane River Patrol has closed Cane River Lake until it can be surveyed for debris in the water. Deputies say a survey will have to be completed by the National Weather Service before it can be confirmed a tornado.