Arabi, N.O. East hit by tornado; assessments being made
By ALAN SMASON
One unidentified man was killed as an EF-3 tornado skipped across sections of the West Bank, crossing the Mississippi River and inflicting massive damage in Arabi and other sections of St. Bernard Parish and New Orleans East early last night.
The tornado began to form over Lake Salvador, southwest of New Orleans, around 7:15 p.m. and began to touch down from 7:20 to 7:50, before moving out of the immediate area.
Dozens of homes on the West Bank, most especially in Arabi, were completely destroyed. Cars were upended, roofs were torn off and trees and branches were downed by the force of the powerful winds estimated at 80 m.p.h. Several people were taken to area hospitals, most suffering superficial cuts and bruises.
Weather authorities reported another tornado formed over Lake Pontchartrain and touched down in St. Tammany Parish before the two super cells moved off towards Mississippi and central Alabama.
Area power officials announced that more than 3,700 homes were without power, most of those caused by downed lines and snapped poles. Entergy and CLECO spokespeople implored people to stay in their homes until assessments could be made at dawn and repairs affected, which could take days or weeks to restore. Many downed power lines remain dangerous to residents.
Most area roads are open, while access to St. Bernard Parish is confined to Paris Road only. St. Bernard Highway is open for refinery workers only and the road remains closed after the refinery. The St. Claude and Claiborne bridges over the Industrial Canal are closed, while crews are dispatched to restore power and continue in the cleanup efforts.