Damaging tornado

Damaging tornado hits New Orleans for second time this year

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During a two-day outbreak of deadly storms across the South, a tornado roared across New Orleans on Wednesday afternoon — for the second time this year.

At least 30,000 people were without power after a tornado roared through the New Orleans area and other parts of Louisiana on Wednesday, authorities said.

A tornado touched down in Gretna during the afternoon and caused significant damage before the twister crossed the Mississippi River and struck Arabi, a suburb east of New Orleans, NOLA.com reported.

Arabi, which borders parts of New Orleans’s Lower Ninth Ward and was devastated by a tornado in March, suffered major damage.

The tornado carved a northeasterly path of destruction up to two miles long through St. Bernard’s Parish, Sheriff James Pohlmann said at a news conference Wednesday evening, but there were only minor injuries.

Four injuries were also reported in Orleans Parish, and additional major damage was reported in Gretna in Jefferson Parish.

Updated 8:36 p.m. EST Dec. 14: At least people have been confirmed dead in the state due to the tornadoes. Authorities in St. Charles Parish west of New Orleans said eight people were hospitalized with injuries and one woman was found dead outdoors after a suspected tornado struck Killona along the Mississippi River, The Associated Press reported.

Allison Raymond, 55, of Killona, was found dead beneath a pile of debris.

“She was just gone,” Audry Mitchell, a neighbor, told the news outlet.

“You go to search a house and the house isn’t even there, so where do you search?” Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards told reporters as he toured a mile-long path of destruction in Keithville, according to the AP.

FOX Weather correspondent Mitti Hicks was in New Orleans when Tornado Warnings began shifting closer.

The NWS issued a Tornado Warning for Orleans and Jefferson Parishes just before 4 p.m.

Conditions began deteriorating rapidly around Lake Pontchartrain, where Hicks was located. Lightning flashed over the water, and the wind started whipping trees.

“Things have just changed drastically in 20 minutes. You can’t even see about 30 feet ahead of me,” Hicks said.

Several homes and businesses were damaged in the tornado that struck south of New Orleans (New Orleans Fire Department.)

Immediately after the storm, Jefferson Parish Councilman Scott Walker started surveying damage.

“It was on the West Bank, where the tornado sort of formed and then crossed the river into the city of New Orleans and caused some damage in the city of Gretna, old Gretna, a few streets around there.

There was a Winn-Dixie off the West Bank Expressway, which is sort of the interstate that leads you to the Crescent City connection into the city – the roof collapsed there and there’s some significant damage to that store,” said Walker.

Cindy DeLucca Hernandez was in Arabi, Louisiana, when she spotted the supercell.

“It was 4:07 p.m. and I was on my way home from work, trying to beat the rain home,” said Hernandez. “We were at the light and saw the debris and got hit by it, so I put the car in reverse, and I waited. I was in shock.”

As of Wednesday evening, authorities had not reported any fatalities associated with the storm that impacted the metro; however, an earlier round of storms is thought to have lead to the deaths of at least three people across the state.

New Orleans is no stranger to destructive tornadoes
In March, two tornadoes tore through a part of New Orleans, killing a 25-year-old man and leaving a wide path of destruction.

The largest of the two, rated at least an EF-3 by the NWS, was seen as a large, multi-vortex tornado tracking 11 miles into the Arabi and Lower Ninth Ward.

Areas that saw damage were Orleans, St. Bernard, St. Tammany and Jefferson parishes. Some of the same communities saw damage during the most recent event.

The town of Arabi was also devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Some spots were 10 to 20 feet underwater when the levees broke.

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