One Dead, Multiple Injured After Tornado Tears Through New Orleans Area

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Major damage was reported in Arabi, east of New Orleans, after a tornado warning was issued for the area.

At least one person was killed, and homes were damaged and destroyed after a tornado struck the New Orleans area Tuesday evening, officials said.

Urgent tornado warnings were issued for the city around 7:20 p.m., and video from NBC affiliate WDSU showed a dark funnel cloud moving through the area.

The community of Arabi, in St. Bernard Parish just east of New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward, was 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, he said, but information about 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,” he 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 Arabi told WDSU in a phone interview that the store is OK but neighbors lost homes.

“The houses are completely destroyed,” he 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 Arabi and the Lower 9th Ward, as well as to the Gretna and to the Lacombe area on the north side of Lake Pontchartrain. Final assessments about the storms could take days.

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