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'This is something I hoped I would never see': Officials say 1 killed after tornado hits New Orleans

New Orleans tornado March 22 2022
Posted at 10:33 PM, Mar 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-23 07:28:58-04

A tornado tore through parts of New Orleans and its suburbs, ripping down power lines and scattering debris in a part of the city that had been heavily damaged by Hurricane Katrina 17 years ago.

St. Bernard Parish Sheriff Jimmy Pohlmann said during a news conference that one person was confirmed dead and multiple others were injured in the suburb. Other tornadoes spawned by the same storm system hit parts of Texas and Oklahoma, killing one person and causing multiple injuries and widespread damage.

A video taken by a local television station showed a large black funnel visible in the darkened sky looming among the buildings in the eastern part of New Orleans.

WDSU Chief Meteorologist Margaret Orr sounded shocked when she saw the large funnel cloud on the station's tower cam during the station's broadcast, telling viewers, "Folks this is something I hoped I would never see."

Images shared on social media showed the massive tornado hitting powerlines.

Louisiana State Police and the Louisiana State Fire Marshal's Office were assisting with traffic control, damage assessments and rescue operations after Tuesday night's tornado.

Officials worked into the night to rescue any individuals trapped in the tornado affected areas of the Lower Ninth Ward and New Orleans East communities, as well as Arabi in St. Bernard Parish.

Mayor LaToya Cantrell issued a statement following Tuesday's severe weather.

"A tornado touched down this evening in the Lower Ninth Ward and New Orleans East communities shortly before 8 p.m. CST. The New Orleans Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness has activated the Emergency Operations Center in response to the tornado. As of now there have been no reports of casualties or significant damage to Orleans Parish," said Mayor LaToya Cantrell. "Our partners at Entergy are working to restore power to the 8,000 customers impacted. Residents should avoid all travel that isn't essential, to provide an opportunity for the professionals to handle this situation."

"The Sanitation, Parks and Parkways and Public Works Departments will be on the ground at first light clearing right of ways and assessing damage to the neighborhoods impacted. Debris contractors have also been notified to stand ready to mobilize if needed. I am also in contact with St. Bernard Parish President Guy McInnis, and the New Orleans Police, Fire and EMS Departments have begun staging in St. Bernard Parish to assist our neighbors with help in any way possible."

"We will provide more details as damages are assessed, and we implore New Orleans residents to remain patient and vigilant and allow both our brave public service teams and the Entergy technicians to do their jobs unimpeded."