One of the most unpredictable things about springtime in the South is severe weather. Southerners have to be on guard for intense storms that can include flooding, lightning, hail, straight-line winds, and tornadoes.
On Tuesday night, a storm system ripped through parts of the South, bringing devastation to at least three states. Three tornadoes touched down in the metropolitan area of New Orleans, doing damage to an area that’s still reeling from recent hurricanes.
WDSU reports that “Three tornadoes were confirmed in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans, Arabi in St. Bernard Parish, and in Lacombe in St. Tammany Parish.”
“As of now there have been no reports of casualties or significant damage to Orleans Parish,” tweeted Mayor LaToya Cantrell, who assured the thousands without power that utility companies were working hard to restore service.
A tornado touched down this evening in the Lower Ninth Ward and New Orleans East communities shortly before 8PM.
The New Orleans Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness has activated the Emergency Operations Center in response to the tornado.
— Mayor LaToya Cantrell (@mayorcantrell) March 23, 2022
The suburb of Arabi was a different story altogether. The tornado in the eastern suburb of New Orleans ripped the roofs off houses, knocked over a school bus, and literally uprooted a home with the family inside it.
“The National Weather Service said the Arabi damage had been caused by a tornado of at least EF-3 in strength, meaning it had winds from 158-206 mph,” reported the Associated Press. Arabi is still dealing with the devastation from Hurricane Ida last year and even from Hurricane Katrina back in 2005.
The damage on the ground was heartbreaking.
02/23/2022. La Task Force 1. (NOFD) Search & Rescue St. Bernard Tornado. Photos by Oper. P Matory, NOFD Photo Unit. pic.twitter.com/ZdbmstfhsF
— NOFD (@NOLAFireDept) March 23, 2022
Gov. John Bel Edwards dispatched 300 National Guard troops to the area to provide support to authorities. The governor took an aerial tour of the damaged areas on Wednesday.
Tornadoes also did damage in Alabama, shredding roofs off metal buildings, and in Texas, where Gov. Greg Abbott declared a disaster in 16 counties.
The storm system lost intensity as it moved into Georgia and South Carolina, although more storms are possible throughout the South on Wednesday evening.