Tornado rips through New Orleans, destroying homes, killing 1

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A large tornado ripped through New Orleans on Tuesday, killing at least one person, destroying homes and knocking down power lines, media reported, in another setback for an area that has yet to fully recover from last year’s Hurricane Ida.

A dark funnel cloud touched down in the city and plowed through neighbourhoods, pictures on social media showed, with damage reported in the communities off Arabi, Gretna and St. Bernard Parish.

St. Bernard Parish President Guy McInnis told local media at least one person was killed but offered no further details.

There were no official reports of the number of people injured.

“We had five or six houses totally demolished. There were people in the homes, so far everyone is accounted for,” McInnis said on WDSU television.

St. Bernard Parish Sheriff Jimmy Pohlmann told news site NOLA.com he had reports of some people trapped.

People enter a damaged building in the Arabi neighbourhood of New Orleans on Tuesday. (Kathleen Flynn/Reuters)

In Arabi, the tornado blew off roofs and knocked over trees and utility poles, NOLA.com reported.

Much of southern Louisiana is still recovering from Hurricane Ida, a fierce Category 4 storm that came ashore last August, devastating rural communities to the south of New Orleans and killing more than 100 people in the South and Caribbean.

The majority Black city of New Orleans, known for its jazz, Cajun-influenced cuisine and history as a major slave port, is still traumatized by 2005’s Hurricane Katrina, one of the largest and most powerful storms in U.S. history, which killed at least 1,800 people.

Tuesday’s tornado struck a day after twisters destroyed homes and injured people elsewhere in the region.

Power was reported out for more than 17,346 customers in Louisiana, 25,923 in Texas and more than 11,646 in Mississippi, according the website poweroutage.us. Some 8,000 customers in New Orleans lacked electricity, utility provider Atmos Energy told NOLA.com.

The storm front brought heavy rain and powerful winds to Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama as National Weather Service forecasters warned some five million people in the region could see dangerous weather.

People survey damage in the Arabi neighourhood of New Orleans. A tornado tore through parts of the city and its suburbs Tuesday night, ripping down power lines and scattering debris in a part of the city that had been heavily damaged by Hurricane Katrina 17 years ago. (Gerald Herbert/The Associated Press)

“This is the typical time of the year for these events to unfold. Springtime is prime for severe weather,” said Roger Erickson, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Lake Charles, La.

School districts across the region cancelled classes and Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge closed its campus for the day.



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