Tornado rips through New Orleans and its suburbs, killing 1

APTOPIX_Severe_Weather_24428 Debris litters the ground surrounding homes, damaged by a tornado, on Oxford Drive and Stratford Drive in Round Rock, Texas Monday, March 21, 2022.
Severe_Weather_Texas_94333 Debris lines the roads as crews and homeowners work to repair properties damaged by severe weather in Elgin, Texas, Tuesday, March 22, 2022. Officials say multiple tornadoes ripped through parts of Texas and Oklahoma on Monday.
Severe_Weather_Texas_33475 Debris lines the roads as crews and homeowners work to repair properties damaged by severe weather in Elgin, Texas, Tuesday, March 22, 2022. Officials say multiple tornadoes ripped through parts of Texas and Oklahoma on Monday.
Severe_Weather_Texas_78071 Debris lines the roads as crews and homeowners work to repair properties damaged by severe weather in Elgin, Texas, Tuesday, March 22, 2022. Officials say multiple tornadoes ripped through parts of Texas and Oklahoma on Monday.
Severe_Weather_Texas_29174 Debris lines the roads as crews and homeowners work to repair properties damaged by severe weather in Elgin, Texas, Tuesday, March 22, 2022. Officials say multiple tornadoes ripped through parts of Texas and Oklahoma on Monday.
APTOPIX_Severe_Weather_Texas_22230 A house on Monkey Road in Elgin, Texas, on Tuesday March 22, 2022, is damaged by a tornado that struck Monday. Multiple tornadoes ripped through parts of Texas and Oklahoma, killing at least one person and causing multiple injuries and widespread damage before the storm system moved on to Louisiana and Mississippi.
Severe_Weather_Texas_45901 J-Bo Moore looks at the damage to his house on Windsong Trail in Round Rock, Texas, Tuesday March 22, 2022, after a tornado tore off the roof on Monday. Multiple tornadoes ripped through parts of Texas and Oklahoma, killing at least one person and causing multiple injuries and widespread damage before the storm system moved on to Louisiana and Mississippi.
Severe_Weather_Texas_47695 Monkey Road in Elgin, Texas, was closed to through traffic Tuesday, March 22, 2022, as power companies repaired lines downed from the Monday storm. A tornado swept through Bastrop County causing major damage south of Elgin, Texas, Monday March 21. Multiple tornadoes ripped through parts of Texas and Oklahoma, killing at least one person and causing multiple injuries and widespread damage before the storm system moved on to Louisiana and Mississippi.
Severe_Weather_93882 A debris lined street is seen in the Lower 9th Ward, Tuesday, March 22, 2022, in New Orleans, after strong storms moved through the area.
Severe_Weather_36175 Authorities survey damage in the Lower 9th Ward, Tuesday, March 22, 2022, in New Orleans, after strong storms moved through the area.
APTOPIX_Severe_Weather_08433 Michael Talamantez comforts his girlfriend Derry Schroer after Talamantez' house on Stratford Drive in Round Rock, Texas was destroyed by a severe storm, reported as a tornado, while they were inside on Monday March 21, 2022. "I thought I was going to die," he said.
APTOPIX_Severe_Weather_26890 Michael Talamantez looks at his house on Stratford Drive in Round Rock, Texas, after it was destroyed by a tornado while he was inside on Monday March 21, 2022. "I thought I was going to die," he said.
Severe_Weather_33491 Jarrod Schneider, who lives on Oxford Drive in Round Rock, Texas, helps his neighbors clean up after a tornado heavily damaged several homes on the street on Monday ,March 21, 2022.
Severe_Weather_57375 A truck is knocked on its side after a tornado hit a shopping center near I-35 and SH 45 in Round Rock, Texas, on Monday, March 21, 2022.
Severe_Weather_20626 People look at the damage after a tornado hit a shopping center near I-35 and SH 45 in Round Rock, Texas, on Monday, March 21, 2022.
Severe_Weather_76403 Police cars sit parked outside a bank, damaged by a tornado, near I-35 and SH 45 in Round Rock, Texas, on Monday March 21, 2022.
Severe_Weather_99787 Kristie Wofford looks at the damage after a tornado heavily damaged several homes on Oxford Drive in Round Rock, Texas, on Monday March 21, 2022.
Severe_Weather_34587 Michael Talamantez talks to a firefighter in his house on Stratford Drive in Round Rock, Texas, after it was destroyed by a tornado while he was inside on Monday March 21, 2022. "I thought I was going to die," Talamantez said.
Severe_Weather_70857 Debris litters the ground outside a house on Oxford Drive in Round Rock, Texas that was heavily damaged by a tornado on Monday March 21, 2022.
(1/19)

ARABI, La. (AP) — A tornado tore through parts of New Orleans and its suburbs Tuesday night, flipping cars and ripping roofs off homes and killing at least one person in a region that was pummeled by Hurricane Katrina 17 years ago.

Parts of St. Bernard Parish, which borders New Orleans to the southeast, appeared to take the brunt of the weather’s fury, and that is where the fatality occurred. St. Bernard Parish officials gave no details on how the person died; they said multiple other people were injured.

Rescue workers were searching through the suburban parish for more people in need of assistance, according to Sheriff Jimmy Pohlmann. St. Bernard Parish President Guy McInnis said the tornado caused widespread damage throughout the parish.

The damage comes after other tornadoes spawned by the same storm system hit parts of Texas and Oklahoma, killing one person Monday and causing multiple injuries and widespread damage.

In New Orleans, video taken by a local television station Tuesday showed a large black funnel visible in the darkened sky looming among the buildings in the eastern part of the city.

The tornado appeared to start in a New Orleans suburb and then move east across the Mississippi River into the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans and parts of St. Bernard Parish — both of which were badly damaged by Katrina — before moving northeast.

Reggie Ford was nearby in Arabia when the tornado struck. He drove from the area, only to return once it passed, to offer help to anyone who needed it. He said the streets were eerily quite, only filled with fresh devastation from the twister.

“I see downed powerlines. A church is completely destroyed. Three businesses are completely destroyed. There are eight blocks of houses missing their roofs,” the New Orleans resident said. Video he posted on Instagram shows debris cluttered streets and shredded buildings. A battered car was flipped on its roof.

In the New Orleans suburb of Arabi, there was a strong smell of natural gas in the air as residents and rescue personnel stood in the street and surveyed the damage. Some houses were destroyed while pieces of debris hung from electrical wires and trees. An aluminum fishing boat in front of one house was bent into the shape of a C with the motor across the street. Power poles were down and leaning over, forcing emergency workers to walk slowly through darkened neighborhoods checking for damage.

Michelle Malasovich lives in Arabi. Initially she had been worried about family that lives in areas north of Louisiana that were also getting hit by bad weather. She was texting with her family there when, she said, “All of a sudden the lights started flickering.”

Her husband was out on the porch and saw the tornado coming.

“It just kept getting louder and louder,” Malasovich said. After it passed they came out to survey the damage. “Our neighbor’s house is in the middle of the street right now.”

Malasovich’s house fared relatively well, she said. Some columns were blown off the porch and the windows of her Jeep were blown out. Down the street a house was severely damaged, and parked vehicles had been moved around by the winds: “This is serious for down here.”

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell tweeted late Tuesday that there were no reports of casualties or significant damage to the city and that the power utility was working to restore electricity to the 8,000 customers impacted.

About 13,000 homes and businesses were reportedly without power in the three parishes around New Orleans after the storm.

While people in the metropolitan region are used to dealing with severe weather such as hurricanes or heavy rains, it’s rare that a tornado moves through the city. A 2017 tornado caused widespread damage when it touched down in the eastern part of the city.

Ahead of the severe weather, many schools closed early or cancelled after-school activities Tuesday in parts of Louisiana and Mississippi to allow students to get home before the weather deteriorated. Shelters opened for residents who needed a place to stay while the storms traveled through.

Louisiana’s federal and state authorities reminded thousands of hurricane survivors living in government-provided mobile homes and recreational vehicle trailers to have an evacuation plan because the structures might not withstand the expected weather. More than 8,000 households live in such temporary quarters, officials said.

After leaving the New Orleans area, the system dumped heavy rain, downed trees and prompted multiple tornado warnings as it moved into Alabama Tuesday evening. The roofs of several homes were damaged in Toxey, Alabama, after a storm preceded by tornado warnings passed through the area, the National Weather Service tweeted.

Forecasters had been predicting a line of intense weather moving from Texas eastward into the Deep South, and Monday started out with some vicious weather in Texas.

In Texas, several tornadoes were reported Monday along the Interstate 35 corridor. In Elgin, broken trees lined the rural roads and pieces of metal — uprooted by strong winds hung from the branches. Residents stepped carefully to avoid downed power lines as they worked to clean the remnants of broken ceilings, torn down walls and damaged cars.

J.D. Harkins, 59, said he saw two tornadoes pass by his Elgin home.

“There used to be a barn there,” Harkins said, pointing to an empty plot on his uncle’s property covered with scattered debris. He said the building was empty when the first tornado hit Monday, and that his family is thankful nobody was hurt.

Homes and businesses in at least a dozen Texas counties were damaged, according to Storm Prediction Center reports. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced a disaster declaration for 16 hard-hit counties. Abbott said 10 people were injured by storms in the Crockett area, while more than a dozen were reportedly hurt elsewhere.

The Grayson County Emergency Management Office said a 73-year-old woman was killed in the community of Sherwood Shores, about 60 miles (95 kilometers) north of Dallas, but provided no details.

___

Associated Press journalists Jay Reeves in Birmingham, Alabama; Kimberly Chandler in Montgomery, Alabama; Julie Walker in New York; Ken Miller in Oklahoma City; Jill Bleed in Little Rock, Arkansas; Terry Wallace in Dallas; Janet McConnaughy in New Orleans and Alina Hartounian in Phoenix, Arizona, and Acacia Coronado in Austin, Texas contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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