At least one person was killed, and homes were damaged and destroyed after a tornado Struck in the New Orleans area Tuesday evening, officials said.
Urgent tornado Warnings were issued for the city around 7:20 pm, and video from NBC affiliate WDSU showed a dark funnel cloud moving through the area.
The Arab community, in St. Bernard Parish just east of New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward, was a hard hit, officials said.
One death related to the touchdown has been confirmed, St. Bernard Parish Sheriff James Pohlmann said Tuesday night.
“There’s widespread damage,” Pohlmann told Reporters. There were multiple injuries, they said, but information about the severity of the injuries was not immediately available.
New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said that there had been no reports of casualties or significant damage in Orleans Parish after the tornado Touched down in the Lower 9th Ward and New Orleans East.
The Tornado Struck in Louisiana a day after more than a dozen tornadoes Touched down in parts of Texas, Killing one person.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards tweeted that state agencies were assisting. “My prayers are with you in Southeast Louisiana Tonight. Please be safe, ”they wrote.
The state’s Fire Marshal office said that teams from the New Orleans and Baton Rouge areas had been dispatched to affected areas to conduct search and rescue operations.
A man at a grocery store in Arabic told WDSU in a phone interview that the store is OK but Neighbors lost homes.
“The houses are completely destroyed,” they said. “It’s like something out of a movie.”
The tornado that Struck Arabi caused damage on a path from the river to the south to a levee to the north, St. Bernard Parish President Guy McInnis said.
“We have homes along that whole stretch that were severely damaged,” McInnis said. “… We have a home that was lifted off its foundation and put into the middle of the street.”
The National Weather Service said it will be sending survey teams Wednesday to Arabia and the Lower 9th Ward, as well as the Gretna and to the Lacombe area on the north side of Lake Pontchartrain. Final assessments about the storms could take days.
The weather service issued a 7:22 pm warning for New Orleans to “find an interior closet, room or hallway and take cover!”
It said a large tornado was on the ground headed toward New Orleans East and that damage had been reported in Gretna, on the western bank of the Mississippi River across from New Orleans.
Officials in neighboring Jefferson Parish said shortly after the Storm that there had been no major damage or injuries reported.
More than 14,000 people were without power in St. Bernard, Orleans and Jefferson parishes in the immediate aftermath of the Storm, according to Entergy. That number had dropped to about 7,500 late Tuesday night.
By late Tuesday, tornado watches for Louisiana had expired, but watches continued for parts of southern Mississippi and southern and central Alabama.
In Hinds County, Mississippi, storms Tore down trees and power lines, emergency management officials said, and the weather prompted Mississippi State University in Starkville to switch to remote classes.
In western Alabama, there was damage to the roofs of several homes in the area of Toxey after storms moved through Tuesday, according to the weather service and Choctaw County emergency management officials.
In Hale County, around 20 homes were damaged but there were no injuries after a possible tornado there, Russell Weeden, the local emergency management director, told NBC affiliate WVTM of Birmingham. There were no injuries reported.
On Monday in Texas, a woman died after a tornado Struck her home in Sherwood Shores, about 90 miles north of Dallas, the Grayson County Office of Emergency Management said. The National Weather Service confirmed Tuesday that it was an EF-2 tornado.
More than a dozen people were injected into Monday’s tornadoes and severe weather, officials said.
Eleven tornadoes were confirmed in north and central Texas, including the deadly one in Sherwood Shores which had 130 mph Winds, the weather service said. The strongest, an EF-3, was confirmed in Jacksboro. Another five were confirmed in eastern and southeastern Texas.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued a disaster declaration for 16 counties in his state affected by the severe weather.
The National Weather Service in Norman, Oklahoma, said officials believe the most intense damage in the state from Monday’s Storm was at the EF-2 level near Buncombe.
“Talking to local officials, we don’t believe there is any other damage to go higher than EF2 anywhere else,” they said wrote.
After they Predicted higher-than-usual Storm activity this week, Forecasters warn that millions more people are expected to be at risk of severe weather Wednesday in a swath of the Eastern US from northern Florida through North Carolina and up to the Indiana-Ohio border .