Tornado plows through New Orleans as severe weather batters US South

Tornado plows through New Orleans as severe weather batters US South- BPN TODAY

A LARGE tornado swept into New Orleans on Tuesday, shearing off roofs and trapping people, local media reported, a day after twisters destroyed homes and injured people elsewhere in the U.S. deep South.

A dark funnel cloud touched down in the city, pictures on social media showed, and damage was reported in the neighboring areas of Arabi and Gretna, the National Weather Service reported. 

The tornado blew off roofs and knocked over trees and utility poles in Arabi, news site NOLA.com reported.

A video posted on Twitter by Fox8 television showed several firefighters near a house in Arabi with no roof and its walls toppled over.

Damaged buildings, downed power lines and debris strewn across a street were seen in St. Bernard Parish, a few miles from downtown New Orleans, in video posted on Twitter by Fox19 television.

“We have reports of people (who) are trapped,“ NOLA.com reported St. Bernard Parish Sheriff Jimmy Pohlmann as saying. “We’re in the area doing assessments now.”

Parish President Guy McInnis reported an unknown number of minor injuries, according to NOLA.com. There is no official word on how many people have been injured.

Utility provider Atmos Energy told NOLA.com more than 15,000 customers were without power, including 8,000 in New Orleans.

A tornado warning remained in place for areas northeast of New Orleans, the weather service said, but the danger to New Orleans had passed.

“The tornado and associated storm have moved to the east. There are still showers around but none are severe at this time,“ the weather service said on Twitter.

The storm front was bringing heavy rains of up to 6 inches (14 cm) and wind gusts of 45 miles an hour (12 km per hour) to Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama as National Weather Service forecasters warned some 5 million people in the region could see dangerous weather on Tuesday.

“This is the typical time of the year for these events to unfold. Spring-time is prime for severe weather,“ said Roger Erickson, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

School districts across the region canceled classes and Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge closed its campus for the day due to the inclement weather.

As of Tuesday afternoon, some 55,000 homes and businesses were without power in Texas and Louisiana, according to Poweroutages.com.

The rough weather comes a day after tornadoes ripped through north and central Texas.

Three people were injured when a reported tornado tore through two mobile homes in Houston, the National Weather Service said. Four other people suffered minor injuries in the storms in Upshur County in eastern Texas.

A family of three people was rescued from the rubble of their home in Bowie, Texas, after a tornado touched down there, the local NBC affiliate reported. One woman was hospitalized

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