LaPlace, LA F4 Tornado – December 6, 1983

SPC Stats:

Path length: 7 miles

Width:  200 yards

Fatalities:  0

Injuries:  25

Rating:  F4

Parish:  St. John the Baptist

One of the strongest tornadoes to ever hit in Southeastern Louisiana occurred on December 6, 1983.  The tornado was rated F4 on the Fujita Scale.  This damage was found at the Belle Pointe Subdivision.  Several homes had their foundations swept clean.  Per Storm Data, the tornado was not given an F5 rating, "because the walls were nailed to the foundation, not bolted."

Near the beginning of the track, the tornado moved right over East St. John High School causing considerable damage.  From there it hit two subdivisions including Belle Pointe.  25-30 homes were destroyed and major damage to over 100 more.

Per Storm Data, after leaving the second subdivision, the tornado moved through a farm field leaving suction swath marks.  It also moved over a golf course.  The tornado dissipated after crossing I-10.

There was a total of 25 injuries and zero fatalities with this event.

Track via NWSFO Slidell, LA and the University of Chicago. Extracted from the Dec 1983 Storm Data Publication.

Storm Data Entry

The largest tornado ever recorded in southeast Louisiana struck the northwest residential section of LaPlace, Louisiana.  The tornado had a track 5 miles long and a path width that varied from 100 to 300 yards wide.  The tornado initially struck a new high school causing one wall to fail, the roof of a shop building to fail and windows to be blown out.  This structure remained sound after the tornado strike. The tornado then struck parts of two subdivisions totally destroying 25-30 homes and causing major damage to an additional 100-125.  In the Belle Pointe subdivision, several homes had foundations swept clean including bathroom fixtures.  However, this was not classified as F5 because the walls were nailed to the foundation, not bolted.  As the tornado left the residential area, it moved across a golf course then crossed Interstate 10 before dissipating.  IN all, 25 persons were injured wit 5 seriously.  All of the injured recovered.

Tornado Path

Click map to enlarge.

SPC coordinates:  Start: 30.07 / -90.52      End: 30.08 / -90.42

Note:  Exact tornado path may not be straight and/or continuous.

Discrepancies:

We gathered information for this event from the SPC & NCDC Databases, the December 1983 Storm Data Publication and Thomas Grazulis in Significant Tornadoes and found the following differences:

Path Length:

  • SPC/NCDC have a 7 mile path length.
  • Grazulis and Storm Data have a length at 5 miles.

Sources:

The Storm Prediction Center

NCDC Storm Events Database

December 1983 Storm Data Publication

newspapers.com

Grazulis, Thomas P. (1993). Significant Tornadoes 1680-1991: A Chronology and Analysis of Events. St. Johnsbury, VT: The Tornado Project of Environmental Films. Page 1252.