Tornado wreaks havoc in New Orleans, damaging homes and knocking down utility poles


A tornado ripped through New Orleans in the early hours of Wednesday morning with winds up to 85 mph, tearing off roofs and knocking down utility lines along the way. 

Powerful storms hit the city overnight as a tornado touched down at 2:05 a.m. and tracked 5.26 miles through uptown New Orleans and the Algiers Point area.

A downed power pole from a possible tornado sits on a damaged car after heavy storms moved through the area Tuesday night, in the Uptown section of New Orleans, Wednesday, May 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

A downed power pole from a possible tornado sits on a damaged car after heavy storms moved through the area Tuesday night, in the Uptown section of New Orleans, Wednesday, May 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Ramsey Green, deputy chief administrative officer for infrastructure in New Orleans, said 10,000 people lost power, but it could have been much worse. 

“Frankly, we’re very lucky… that the impact on human life was what it was, which was very little,” Green said at a news conference Wednesday. 

No injuries or deaths have been reported as of Wednesday evening. 

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The tornado was rated as an EF-0, the lowest rating on the enhanced Fujita scale. 

It’s the first tornado to touch down in New Orleans since July 2019 and the 10th since 2000, according to the National Weather Service. 

With hurricane season right around the corner on June 1, New Orleans emergency preparedness director Collin Arnold called Wednesday’s storm “a dry run for what we are going to face in a few weeks.”

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New Orleans has been dealing with unusually severe weather so far in 2021. Green said the city saw 13 inches of rain in April, far more than the 5 inches that are normally seen in that time frame. 

A flash flood warning was in effect for New Orleans until 6 p.m. and other southern states could face severe weather later on Wednesday night. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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