Cotton Valley, LA Tornado Damage, Jan 1948



Shreveport, La., Jan. 1. -- Freezing winds and rain added peril and discomfort today as rescue workers counted a mounting toll of lives and property in the wake of scattered southern tornadoes. The toll of known dead reached 24.
The cotton and oil belt of northwestern Louisiana and southwestern Arkansas was hardest hit, with 15 bodies counted in the almost demolished community of Cotton Valley, La.
Three were dead in the Memphis, Tenn., area, from another twister, and one fatality each was counted in Leton, Dykesville, and Haynesville, La., in Village and Atlheirmer, Ark., and in Mantee, Miss.
Hundreds were homeless and about 200 were injured.
The intensive weather disturbance moved into the Ohio river valley with rain, sleet, or snow and proceeded northeastward at a 35-mile-per-hour clip. The Washington weather bureau issued a special warning for Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Tennessee.
High winds struck Montgomery, Ala.
HAZEL, MARIE and WILNUS BECTON were killed when their farm home collapsed 10 miles north of Memphis.
A woman was fatally injured at Dykesville, La., and an unidentified negro was killed at Haynesville. At Village, Ark., a school superintendent was was killed when a high school gymnasium was demolished.
A twister also struck Gilmer, Ark., destroying one house, but there were no deaths or injuries reported there.
The funnel-shaped twister was first sighted south of Vanceville, La., by HERMAN JONES of Rossier
City. He said he saw the funnel dip toward the earth as he drove along a highway. He abandoned his automobile for the comparative safety of a roadside ditch, he said, and watched as the funnel sucked up a house from nearby woods.
At the time, JONES said, the tornado was cutting a swath about 50 feet wide.
Romping across wonded and swampy sections of Bossier parish, the twister struck Cotton Valley from the southwest damaging much of the business district.
Then it came back to strike the little town again, this time from the northeast and demolished many homes.
Mayor SAM COYLE estimates 500 persons are homeless and that the list of injured in Cotton Valley alone will reach 200.
A check of hospitals in the stricken area showed at least 150 persons have been treated for storm injuries.
The storm roared on through Leton and Dykesville, La., before invading Haynesville where it struck the western and northern edges of the town, doing major damage to the business section. More than 30 buildings were destroyed or seriously damaged, including a number of garages, a warehouse, a news stand a wholesale establishment and a lumber yard.

Evening Journal Lubbock Texas 1948-01-01