Scenes of disaster after storm hits New Orleans
NEW ORLEANS - Parts of eastern New Orleans are looking like a disaster area following a line of severe weather that just blew through the city.
The storm flipped over cars, tore roofs off homes, ripped through a gas station canopy, broke tall power poles off their foundations, flipped a food truck upside-down and left a couch resting improbably on a pile of debris in the middle of a road.
New Orleans East resident James Thomas says his whole neighborhood shows storm damage, but his house escaped a tornado with a near miss.
He says, "It's bad. I've never seen it this bad." He says "As far as I can see, treetops are off, power lines down."
Thomas says he saw the twister coming, grabbed his motorcycle helmet and ran into his bathroom.
He says the room went pitch-black, he heard hail on the window, and came outside afterward to see a damage trail or about 20 to 40 feet from his house.
One driver was trapped in his truck by power lines that wrapped around the cab.
As the storm blew over New Orleans, the sun could only be seen on the faraway horizon, below dark grey thunderheads that seemed to turn the day into night.
Press Secretary Sean Spicer says the White House is monitoring the severe weather going through Louisiana. He says President Donald Trump is aware of the situation and is going to be reaching out to local and state officials throughout the day.
Mayor Mitch Landrieu says there are initial reports of dozens of minor injuries and two more serious injuries. A spokesman for the Emergency Medical Service described most of those injured Tuesday as "walking wounded," with minor cuts and scrapes.
City officials say about 10,000 homes are without power and there are reports of gas leaks in the area.
Police Chief Michael Harrison says they've closed Interstate 10 eastbound from Downman to Interstate 510 and westbound from I-510 to the Downman exit. That covers most exits that would go into the affected areas. He urged people to stay off the roads and out of the affected areas.
Harrison says patrols are doing house-by-house searches in the neighborhoods to make sure no one's trapped by falling debris or other damage.
Yoshekia Brown lost everything to Hurricane Katrina. Now she's lost everything again, to a tornado.
Three-quarters of her home in East New Orleans is collapsed. She says her living room and front bedroom are gone. Luckily her 2-year-old son and three dogs have survived.
She says her home was insured, but she's not sure what to do next.
And despite being struck twice by disaster, she's telling herself that 'something good has to come from this.'
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