LAKE CHARLES, La. (KLFY) — No disaster declaration is expected for Lake Charles after yesterday’s EF-2 tornado event, as the event was not widespread enough to warrant one, according to Gov. John Bel Edwards.
Preliminary surveys by the National Weather Service show that a 300-yard wide EF-2 Tornado with 130 mph winds was on the ground for 2 miles as it traveled due east just south of Ham Reid Road on Wednesday. This tornado caused severe damage to several homes and two injures. Fortunately, no fatalities occurred.
Edwards said in a press conference this morning that damages to homes in the affected area are believed to be covered by insurance.
Today’s press conference came as the governor was about to leave the state for a climate change conference in Scotland. Edwards said Wednesday’s tornadic activity ties in with the climate change issue for Louisiana. During the Scotland trip, Edwards said he plans to position Louisiana in the international community not only as one of the largest victims of rising sea levels and stronger and more frequent severe weather, but also as a potential hotbed for investment over the issue.
Edwards is calling for diversity in Louisiana’s energy industry. While he stressed that Louisiana will remain an “oil and gas state,” he noted that even oil companies themselves are investing more in renewable energy.
“We can’t afford to be more pro-oil and gas than the oil and gas companies,” said Edwards. He noted that he wishes to see the state expand the energy sector into renewables while continuing to support the oil and gas industry. The result, he said, could be an explosion of jobs as the state remains a top player in the energy sector.
Meanwhile, Wednesday’s tornado was a heavy blow for a city still recovering from 2020’s hurricanes. While the state has been promised $596 million in hurricane recovery aid, it will still be a while longer before the state actually receives the funding. Edwards said he has been speaking with President Joe Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other officials to increase aid to the area, which is still struggling with housing needs.
Edwards said the allocation was “a great start,” but isn’t near enough to handle the recovery efforts. He said state officials are working with administration figures and congressmen to increase aid, and he said officials are working to land more funding by December.