Tallulah plant hit by tornado is back up

Published 12:14 pm Monday, May 24, 2010

Production has cranked up again at two lube oil additive processing units at Tallulah’s Complex Chemical, which was slammed in the violent tornado that plowed through the area on April 24.

Owner Jerry Melton said this morning the two units were restarted Friday and Saturday at the Madison Parish Port plant, which sustained $20 million to $30 million in damage.

One of the plant’s 11 processing units was restarted May 13, and the last should be restarted by June 4, Melton said.

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Fifteen employees inside the plant when the tornado hit reported minor injuries. No deaths were reported in Louisiana from the tornado, which formed northwest of Tallulah before crossing the Mississippi River, slamming a row of homes at Eagle Lake and moving northwest to Yazoo County with winds of 130 to 150 mph.

The tornado, which the National Weather Service reported to be of EF-4 intensity, killed 10 people in Mississippi, four in Yazoo County.

Complex Chemical’s 80-person work force has remained on the payroll since April 24, largely to haul debris from the 20-acre site.

Normal operations at the plant are expected to take six to eight months, Melton has said.

Two other businesses at the Madison Parish Port, Terral River Service and Northrup Grumman, reported less severe damage in the storm.