A 26-year-old man was reported dead after paramedics found him outside his home in the Arabi district around 10pm local time, according to John Lane, a spokesman for St. Bernard Parish President Guy McInnis.
Other residents were hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries, Lane told The Washington Post early Wednesday.
He said the Arabi district between Lower Ninth Ward and Chalmette was the area hardest hit at the tornado.
“There was serious damage,” Lane said. “We have houses that have become completely flat. We have houses that have been moved from [their] foundations and suffered severe structural damage. “
McInnis said during a news conference Tuesday that he saw emergency personnel rescue a girl trapped inside her home’s ventilation system. The girl’s family had been looking for her before firefighters were able to rescue her, McInnis said. He asked all residents to contact his office before heading out to rescue neighbors.
Lane said he has not seen this kind of devastation since Hurricane Katrina, which landed in southeastern Louisiana on August 29, 2005.
Large parts of New Orleans were devastated by Hurricane Katrina, he told The Post, but what happened Tuesday night “is much more localized – two different types of devastation, but nonetheless, this is significant.”
The population left is almost 50,000. Early Wednesday, community members and first aiders navigated a maze of crashed power lines that blocked streets to reach residents.
“We’re eager for the morning to get out and assess the damage,” Lane told The Post.
The New Orleans Fire Department is responding to reports of injuries and trapped people, according to police Weather channel. The Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal reported that search and rescue teams have been deployed and emergency workers are on site in Arabi.
Footage on social media revealed a large, powerful tornado that ripped across the night sky. It appeared to be a multi-vortex twister, with at least one additional funnel orbiting a primary wedge-shaped cone.
“This is something I hope I would never see,” New Orleans broadcast meteorologist Margaret Orr told viewers as her station, WDSU, caught the tornado in the distance.
About 2,200 people were without power in St. Louis. Bernard Parish from early Wednesday, and another 2,700 people had lost power in Jefferson and Orleans parishes, according to PowerOutageUS.com.
Governor John Bel Edwards (D) said state and local officials assessed the damage. “My prayers are with you in southeast Louisiana tonight,” he said in one tweet. “Be sure.”
How the tornado evolved, and its path
The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning southwest of New Orleans at 7 p.m., central time. The rotation was significantly tightened around kl. 19.20 as circulation approached Destrehan Avenue in Woodmere, a suburb of southern New Orleans. The tornado warning was extended to the city of New Orleans at 6 p.m. 19.18
Doppler radar indicated a sudden increase in spectrum width, or a radar product that shows in pixels how chaotic the range of motion / wind speeds is. A sudden rise in values over Woodmere indicated turbulence equivalent to a possible tornado.
At 7:22 p.m., the possible tornado penetrated neighborhoods along Redwood Drive in the Timberlane area.
The rotation then arrived at Gretna at. 19.24 and formed over the Highway 90 business route with a “donut hole” signature on the radar, indicating an upwelling so strong that it suspends precipitation. The tornado was described as “large” and was confirmed by a National Weather Service employee at 6 p.m. 19:25, around which time video of it was broadcast live on television stations throughout the New Orleans area.
Radar data indicate that the tornado passed directly over the Terrytown area at. 19:26, which likely damaged areas around the Oakwood Center mall. A number of subdivisions in this area were in the direct path to the devastating tornado.
You can get a little sense of the approximate route the tornado took through New Orleans tonight (within the pink lines). Really hoping for a good result in an otherwise bad situation. pic.twitter.com/P7OpYyOcOO
Matt Lanza (@mattlanza) March 23, 2022
At 7.28pm, the tornado was just west of Shirley Drive near Behrman Memorial Park and near Harriet Tubman Charter School. Delgado Community College and Gilmore Park Apartments were either directly affected by or uncomfortably close to the tornado.
Video broadcast live by television news stations depicted horizontal vortices bouncing off the tornado’s main trunk-like vortex – a sign of intense vertical motion and wind approaching or exceeding 130 mph.
The tornado plowed through the Arabi quarter at. 19.29 after crossing the Mississippi River. It appears to have entered the Lower Ninth Ward near St. Bernard Indoor Shooting Center or just west of the train station near American Sugar Refining.
A number of neighborhoods suffered major damage, with some homes destroyed. A “garbage bullet” appeared on radar near West Jackson Drive at 6 p.m. 19.32. The tornado then entered New Orleans East and was probably weakened by access to Interstate 10. It is unclear whether it crossed the highway before disappearing around 6 p.m. 19.45
The parental thunderstorm developed at the tail end of a cold front that pushed through the area. The risk of strong tornadoes had been announced, but the focus was further north. However, this storm had something the others did not have: isolation. It was a solitary, discreet supercell that allowed it to push into the full wind shift without competing with neighbors. Unfortunately, this meant that the storm reached its full destructive potential.
Initial videos on social media indicate damage in at least the EF2 area, with an EF3 tornado or more possible. The National Weather Service in Slidell, La., Said it would send personnel to investigate the damage.