Deadly overnight tornado in New Orleans was 'at least' an EF-3; governor declares state of emergency
NEW ORLEANS - A "large and extremely dangerous" tornado ripped through the New Orleans area overnight, killing at least one person and destroying numerous homes.
Several videos posted across social media showed the massive twister rolling through parts of Orleans and St. Bernard parishes around 7 p.m. Tuesday.
??? WOW. Incredible view of the tornado near New Orleans earlier as seen from the Mississippi River while a cruise ship passed by.— Brantly Keiek (@BrantlyWx) March 23, 2022
Video from a @WGNOtv viewer via @PeytonLocicero. pic.twitter.com/picbXCWzDN
Officials in St. Bernard Parish said one victim, identified as 25-year-old Connor Lambert, was killed when the tornado hit Arabi.
One video from WWL-TV capturing the aftermath in the area showed overturned cars, leveled home and debris scattered everywhere. On Wednesday, the National Weather Service said the damage was consistent with "at least" an EF-3 tornado.
My heart is shattered as we continue to walk through Arabi. A man from Tennessee who lives here was able to grab his 5-yr old son as his home was completely ravaged and keep both safe. Amazing. If you’re the praying type, please send prayers to the people in New Orleans. pic.twitter.com/BGvpjNFEqB— Brooke Kirchhofer (@brookechesney) March 23, 2022
"We have widespread damage from south Arabi to north Arabi," McInnis said. "We’re going through homes, search and rescue and clearing homes. We have some homes in south Arabi that we’re trying to get to, we’re getting calls from people saying they’re trapped."
Michelle Malasovich, who lives in the area, told WWL-TV that she was texting with her family living further north when her lights started flickering.
“It just kept getting louder and louder,” Malasovich said. “Our neighbor’s house is in the middle of the street right now.”
During a press conference Tuesday night, McInnis said multiple crews of first responders, including the Louisiana National Guard, were dispatched to the area. An emergency response team with the Baton Rouge Fire Department is also assisting.
Governor John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency in four parishes impacted by tornadoes Tuesday—St. Bernard, Orleans, Jefferson and St. Tammany—in order to free up resources to aid the affected areas. Edwards said he will also visit those areas Wednesday afternoon.
A news conference is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. in St. Bernard Parish.