Updated Mar 23, 2022 - Energy & Environment

Thousands without power after deadly tornado strikes New Orleans area

 A tornado-damaged home is seen on March 22, 2022 in Round Rock, Texas.
A tornado-damaged home is seen on March 22, 2022 in Round Rock, Texas. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

A powerful tornado struck the New Orleans area Tuesday evening, knocking out power to thousands of customers and causing extensive damage.

The latest: Authorities in St. Bernard Parish, which borders New Orleans to the southeast, told reporters late Tuesday that at least one person had been killed after the tornado touched down in the area. There were reports of people trapped in the parish.

  • The Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal tweeted that search and rescue teams "more than 100 strong" were working "into the night to ensure there are no individuals trapped in tornado-affected areas."

The big picture: The tornado, captured on video plowing through homes in St. Bernard Parish and the Lower 9th Ward, was spawned by a larger storm system that killed at least one person in Texas, as it continued to unleash powerful winds, hailstones and tornadoes across the South.

  • Extensive damage from the tornado was reported in and around New Orleans, particularly in Arabi in St. Bernard Parish and in the 9th Ward.

By the numbers: Roughly 3.2 million people in the south of Louisiana, southern Mississippi and western Alabama were under a moderate risk of severe weather on Tuesday, per the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center.

  • Nearly 18,000 customers were without power in Texas, while more than 9,000 in Mississippi and nearly 7,000 were also without electricity on Wednesday morning, according to utility tracker poweroutage.us.
  • "Heavy rainfall rates are also likely, leading to a moderate risk of excessive rainfall being issued for Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi, where the potential for 3-5 inches (locally upwards of 6-9 inches) of rainfall exists," per the NWS.

Editor's note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

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