US: At least one killed in New Orleans area tornado

Severe weather event was part of a storm system that previously killed one person in Texas as it swept across the US South.

Tornado damage
Destroyed homes, illuminated by fire engine lights, are seen after a tornado struck the area in Arabi, Louisiana [Gerald Herbert/AP]

A large tornado has torn through the United States city of New Orleans and its surrounding suburbs, destroying homes and killing at least one person.

The tornado touched down late on Tuesday in the southern state of Louisiana, according to authorities.

“Large tornado on the ground in New Orleans! Take shelter now!” the National Weather Service’s local office tweeted at 8:35pm (02:35 GMT Wednesday).

Parts of St Bernard Parish, which borders New Orleans to the southeast, appeared to take the brunt of the storm.

Residents survey storm damage
Residents talk among the debris of their damaged homes after a tornado struck the area [Gerald Herbert/AP]

Officials in the parish, which, along with the Lower Ninth Ward, had been devastated during Hurricane Katrina in 2005, reported a single fatality and several injuries related to the event.

They did not say how the person died. Rescue workers searched through the suburban parish for more people in need of assistance, according to Sheriff Jimmy Pohlmann.

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

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

Tornadoes spawned by the same storm system had previously hit parts of Texas and Oklahoma, destroying property and killing one person on Monday.

New Orleans has repeatedly faced extreme weather in recent years.

Tornado Damage New Orleans
A person takes a photo of damage in Arabi, Louisiana [Gerald Herbert/AP]

Beyond Katrina, many residents suffered damage in 2021 when Hurricane Ida – a category four hurricane – swept through the region.

Stacey Mancuso said her family had just completed repairs to their home in the suburb of Arabi after damage caused by Ida, which ripped off their roof and caused extensive water damage.

She huddled in the laundry room with her husband, two children, and dogs as the tornado rushed by on Tuesday, taking a part of their newly replaced roof with it.

“We’re alive. That’s what I can say at this point,” she said. “We still have four walls and part of a roof. I consider myself lucky.”

Source: News Agencies