The devastating EF3 tornado that struck Arabi, Louisiana, a suburb of New Orleans, left a scattered trail of destruction, sparing houses, and even some household items, seemingly at random.
The tornado, which packed winds of up to 160 miles per hour, nearly destroyed some houses and skipped over others, with a matter of feet between flattened homes and homes with just minor damage.
"I just feel so blessed. I keep on thinking, I've got to do something good because there was a reason my house was spared; it was that close. It was terrifying," said Lyndell Clair, whose neighbor's house was destroyed by the tornado.
— Kim Leoffler (@kimleoffler) March 24, 2022
Even in houses that took the brunt of the tornado head on, some random items happened to be spared. In one house in Arabi, even though the roof and some of the walls were blown away, a selection of random items on a table remained in place, somehow untouched by the intense winds.
Debris can be seen scattered all around the floor, with what looks like part of the building's roof, plates and random trinkets all over the floor. But the table, other than looking somewhat dirty, remained intact, along with the items on it, which are still standing upright.
The tornado in Arabi is hardly the first time that people have noticed the scattershot nature of tornadoes, which seemingly spares random houses and other items. One house in Ellerslie, Georgia, was left untouched by a tornado in March 2019 despite trees being torn to the ground on all sides of the house, according to reporting from The Daily Mail.
Aerial footage of the house shows the truly miraculous nature of its survival, as the destroyed trees clearly show that the tornado, a strong EF4 that killed 23 people, must have tracked directly over the house.
During the same severe weather outbreak as the Arabi tornado, a twister that touched down in Cushing, Texas, somehow spared three large crosses from any significant damage despite trees falling all around them, KETK News reported.
"It's a living testimony of God's power... It just shows you the power of God and his faithfulness and he is just showing out. I know he's here. I can feel it," said Dee Randell, a local who experienced the tornado.
Other religious items have been spared the wrath of a tornado. After a deadly EF4 tornado tore through Lee County, Alabama, in March 2019, a family whose home was almost entirely flattened miraculously survived by huddling in a prayer closet, which was untouched by the storm.
A chaplain with the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team that responded to the storm was incredulous, and thankful, that the family managed to survive.
"I just left a family who survived the tornado in this house, and the only [thing] left standing is this closet," Chaplain Jason Smith wrote. "It's the grandmother's prayer closet, and the whole family survived. Are you kiddin' me? My God is awesome!"
Strong tornadoes can also loft light debris like leaves, branches and paper and deposit them hundreds of miles away. After a long-tracked and deadly EF4 tornado leveled houses in Dawson Springs, Kentucky, in December 2021, one family was able to reclaim a nearly untouched family photo that traveled 130 miles in the air.
The treasured photograph was sucked up into the storm before fluttering down nearly 130 miles away from the now-destroyed city of Dawson Springs, Kentucky, and onto the car of Katie Posten.
"It almost looked like someone left a note on my car, and then I peeled it off and realized, 'Oh, this is a picture from a family," Posten, a resident of New Albany, Indiana, told AccuWeather National Reporter Bill Wadell. "I mean instantly, it was like this has to be from a home that was hit last night."
Using Facebook, Posten was able to connect with the family to return the photograph.
"If you find something, post it and try and get it back to the family. You never know what is going to happen," she said.
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