Louisiana church damaged from one of Beryl’s many tornadoes

Hurricane Beryl made landfall on July 8 near Matagorda, Texas, as a Category 1 cyclone.

MANSFIELD, La. – An outer feeder band of Hurricane Beryl produced at least one tornado in the town of Mansfield, Louisiana, on Monday, destroying several structures including a church.

Photos from the DeSoto Parish Sheriff’s Office showed damage throughout the rural community near the Texas-Louisiana state line.

The "large and powerful" tornado knocked over trees and ripped roofs off buildings. Deputies reported no injuries or deaths from the storm. 

One EF-2 tornado ripped through the small town of Mansfield, leaving several structures destroyed. Among them was a church that was built more than 130 years ago. 

"The biggest challenge that we have right now is just being patient," Freddie Williford, pastor of Beulah Baptist Church, told FOX Weather. "This is God's building. This is God's church. This is God's property, and this is God's problem. We just need to seek him and let him lead us during this process."

As Williford waited for an insurance adjuster to survey the damage, he reassured his congregation that everything would be fine.

"Whether we meet in tents out in the parking lot or borrow someone else's building, I don't know," he said. "But in the process, we're just going to seek God and pray that we glorify him in everything we do."

Williford said those in the community and beyond have wanted to know what they can do to help. Right now, he said, the best thing that they can do is pray for them during the long process.

"Ever-which way it goes, if God chooses to use the insurance company to help us rebuild or if he chooses another means … I don't believe he's finished with us yet," Williford said. "I believe we still have a ministry there."

Law enforcement urged residents to be mindful of scammers who often target storm victims during the recovery process. 

The sheriff’s office also emphasized the importance of residents impacted by the tornado self-reporting damage to the state to determine whether the region qualifies for any assistance.

PowerOutage.us reported that more than 7% of the county was still without power more than 24 hours after the storm had passed.

Louisiana Gov. Jeff Landry declared a state of emergency Tuesday due to the widespread damage in Mansfield and nearby communities.

"The outer connective bands from the tropical storm spread throughout Louisiana causing one fatality, major damage to homes and businesses, as well as massive power outages," a news release from the governor’s office stated. "This emergency order will assist affected parishes and provide the necessary resources to protect life, safety, and welfare for citizens across Louisiana."


Hurricane Beryl triggered more than 100 Tornado Warnings

The National Weather Service office in Shreveport, Louisiana, that covers the region, said it was their busiest day that they can remember.

The office issued 67 Tornado Warnings for communities in northwestern Louisiana, eastern Texas and southwestern Arkansas.

The warnings were part of a larger outbreak that forced resulted in 115 Tornado Warnings in just 24 hours, the most alerts ever issued in a single day in July.

Most of the warnings were in the right-front quadrant of the tropical cyclone, which forecasters always warn is susceptible to tornado outbreaks.

Forecasters will likely need several weeks to confirm the number of twisters and their strengths on the Enhanced Fujita Scale.

More than 36 hours after making landfall along the Texas coastline, the remnants of Hurricane Beryl were still producing tornadoes as far north as Indiana.


Hurricane Ivan in 2004 holds the record for producing the most twisters during any tropical weather event, according to NOAA historical data.

The Category 3 hurricane produced at least 118 tornadoes along the Gulf Coast and the mid-Atlantic in a four-day span.

Most tornadoes produced during tropical cyclones are on the lower end of the wind scale but can occasionally reach EF-3 strength with gusts of 136-165 mph.