“It sounded like a freight train” – the most common description given by tornado survivors once the winds have died down but the people of Kenner, Louisiana in the US heard a different sound this time around:

Shelia and Eugene Scott never heard the “freight train” sound they expected.

It was more like a shrill whistle when the tornado barreled past the side of their home on Rev. Richard Wilson Drive in Kenner in the middle of the night, lighting up the inside of their house in strange colors and shattering one of their windows.

The sound of rushing air is probably a better description when hearing a tornado roll down your street however firefighters at the Kenner Fire Station No. 36 said it sounded different:

“They said it sounded like Beirut — just all kinds of noise,” said one of the firefighters’ colleagues, active Capt. Kevin Lafleur, who took over when their shift ended.

Sounds Like Beirut

What exactly does Beirut sound like? I was thinking of traffic and power generators (actually if you really miss those sounds, there is a YouTube video with six minutes of Beirut noise) or the music documentary, Sounds of Beirut, or even the US indie band, Beirut.

Despite all these options, I still can’t put my finger on it – what does Beirut sound like? There are myriad of examples of “looks like Beirut” but now, sounds like it? I don’t understand what that means!

The aftermath of the tornado that sounds like Beirut in Kenner

The aftermath of the tornado that sounded like Beirut in Kenner
Photo by Matthew Hinton

Looks Like Beirut on Google Maps

Sounds like Beirut joins the looks like Beirut gang on my custom Google Maps. Zoom through the continents and see other areas that have been compared to the Lebanese capital. Feel free to let me know when you’ve come across “Looks Like Beirut” comparisons and I’ll add it to the map.

Kenner on the Looks Like Beirut map

Kenner on the Looks Like Beirut map