During severe weather in southern Louisiana, a radar-confirmed tornado touched down in New Orleans East, causing severe damage on Tuesday, February 7. The National Weather Service issued severe tornado warnings, and at least eight other confirmed tornadoes swept through the region. There were also reports of injuries.
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu told residents in a press conference not to go to New Orleans East. “It is totally shut down,” he said.
There have also been dangerous thunderstorms and hail reported in southeast Louisiana and southern Mississippi.
Facebook also began a safety check for people living in the area, to notify their friends and family if they are safe.
Here is a map by the New Orleans Advocate, showing that there were nine confirmed tornadoes on Tuesday, along with two possible tornadoes. Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards confirmed that tornadoes touched down in Livingston, Tangipahoa, Orleans, Ascension, Jefferson, St. James and St. Tammany parishes. At least 20 injuries in total were reported.
Here’s what we know about the tornadoes. This is a breaking story and will continue to be updated. All times are local central time.
1. The New Orleans East Tornado Was Confirmed by Radar at 11:19 a.m.
The National Weather Service tweeted that the tornado in New Orleans East was confirmed at 11:19 a.m. Meg Farris of WWLTV reports that there were four adults and one child with injuries rushed to New Orleans East Hospital. Most of them are minor, but one injury was a head injury.
KTLV reports that two people suffered serious injuries and about a dozen suffered minor injuries.
The tornado has also knocked out power in the area. The New Orleans Advocate reports that Entergy says over 9,2000 homes are without power.
Police are asking the public to stay away from the areas of New Orleans East noted on the below map. Nola.com reports that police are asking people to stay away from Chef Menteur Highway between Downman Road and Michoud Boulevard, and Chef Menteur and Dwyer Road. All lanes on I-510 South and Chef Menteur Highway are open.
2. The Severe Weather Extends From Southeast Louisiana to Southern Mississippi
Tornado watches are in effect for southeast Louisiana and southern Mississippi until 2 p.m., reports WSDU. According to the station, rain will taper off in Tuesday evening, but there is more strong weather expected through Thursday. Regular temperatures are expected to return by Friday.
The Associated Press reports that the tornado watch in Mississippi includes the Jackson, Hattiesburg and Biloxi areas.
For a complete list of the Louisiana Parishes under a Tornado Watch, click here to go to the National Weather Service.
3. The NWS Wants Residents to Keep Away From Tornado-Damaged Areas
The NWS urges residents to stay away from tornado damaged areas. That way, clean-up crews can work unencumbered. The NWS advises that, after a storm, residents should listed to local officials for instructions; check-in with family and friends; watch our for debris and downed power lines; and stay out of damaged buildings. If you lost power, don’t use candles. Instead, use flashlights or battery-powered lanterns.
The New Orleans Advocate reports that a temporary shelter will be set up at the Joe W. Brown Recreation Center for those whose homes have been severely damaged by the tornado.
Residents have still continued to post new photos of damage in the area, though.
Fox News reports that officials confirmed ther were at leaset seven homes destroyed in Livingston Parish. Deputy Emergency Management Director Brandi Janes said there were at least two homes completely destroyed.
“It’s bad. I’ve never seen it this bad. As far as I can see, treetops are off, power lines down,” James Thomas, a New Orleans East resident, told Fox News.
Here is live coverage from WVUE on Facebook:
4. A NASA Facility Was Damaged by the Tornado & All Personnel Are Safe
NASA confirmed on Twitter that its Michoud Facility was damaged by the tornado at 11:25 a.m. Thankfully, only minor injuries were reported and all personnel is accounted for.
The agency notes that there is still severe weather near the facility, so personnel are still monitoring.
The Rev. Jeffery Friend, pastor of Suburban Baptist Church, told the Advocate that his church has been destroyed and the roof of his house is gone. The church had survived Hurricane Katrina, but it couldn’t withstand a tornado.
“I was there. I live right behind my church…and it blew off the roof of my house and destroyed the church,” he told the Advocate. “The church is gone.”
5. There Was Also a Tornado in Killian
Another tornado was confirmed by radar south of Killian, a town of about 1,200, reports Weather.com. The site reports that this tornado possibly crossed Interstate 55.
The NWS also reported a confirmed tornado in northern Livingston Parish, heading east towards Independence.
Fox News reports that the White House is monitoring the storms. President Donald Trump will contact officials in the hardest-hit areas, the administration said.
The CF Industries Holdings, Inc. Donaldsonville Nitrogen Complex in Donaldsonville was also damaged during a possible tornado, reports WAFB. The station reports that the possible tornado that touched down in Donaldsonville at 11:15 a.m. CF Holdings told WAFB that none of its staff suffered injuries and all individuals have been accounted for.
The below tweet shows the damage in Donaldsonville.
The possible tornado also damaged the Sunshine Bridge area. According to the early report one person was injured there, although the extent of the injuries is unknown.