A large tornado ripped through New Orleans on Tuesday, killing at least one person, destroying homes and downing power lines, media reported, in another setback for a region that has yet to fully recover from the Hurricane Ida last year.
A dark funnel cloud settled in the city and moved through neighborhoods, images on social media showed, with damage reported in communities off Arabi, Gretna and St. Bernard Parish .
St. Bernard Parish President Guy McInnis told local media that at least one person had been killed, but provided no further details.
There have been no official reports on the number of people injured.
“We had five or six houses completely demolished. There were people in the houses, so far everyone is accounted for,” McInnis told WDSU television.
St. Bernard Parish Sheriff Jimmy Pohlmann told the NOLA.com news site he had reports of people being trapped.
In Arabi, the tornado tore away roofs and toppled trees and utility poles, NOLA.com reported.
Much of southern Louisiana is still recovering from Hurricane Ida, a severe Category 4 storm that swept through last August, devastating rural communities south of New Orleans and killing more than 100 people in the south and the 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 storms largest and most powerful in US history, which killed at least 1,800 people. people.
Tuesday’s tornado struck a day after tornadoes destroyed homes and injured people elsewhere in the area.
Power has been reported for more than 17,346 customers in Louisiana, 25,923 in Texas and more than 11,646 in Mississippi, according to the poweroutage.us website. Some 8,000 New Orleans customers were without power, 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 5 million people in the region could see hazardous weather.
“It’s the typical time of year when these events unfold. Spring is a time for severe weather,” said Roger Erickson, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
Area school districts canceled classes and Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge closed its campus for the day.