NEW ORLEANS - A series of tornadoes cut across south Louisiana leaving devastation in its path, including in rarely-hit parts of New Orleans.
The National Weather Service determined an EF-2 tornado touched down in New Orleans East with winds 111 to 135 miles per hour.
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said 30 people were injured, some of them seriously.
There were reports of about a half dozen moderate to severe injuries in New Orleans East, where a tornado apparently hit the Sherwood Forest neighborhood, knocking out power to tens of thousands, devastating homes and automobiles.
Hundreds of homes were badly damaged and around 4,000 homes are without power until Friday at the earliest.
Nearly 1,000 buildings were reportedly damaged or destroyed.
Gov. Edwards declared a State of Emergency in Ascension, Livingston, Orleans, St. James, St. Tammany and Tangipahoa Parish.
He said that at least six tornadoes touched down across the area.
"I am heartbroken to once again see Louisiana families suffering in the wake of devastating tornadoes today," said Gov. Edwards. "We are working tirelessly to ensure that every citizen affected by this storm receives the resources they need as quickly as possible."
There was also damage reported at the NASA facility in Michoud.
Entergy said power was out to about 9,300 buildings and that it could be 3-5 days before it would be restored. They also said there have found 54 gas leaks.
Several New Orleans East schools suffered damage, including Schaumburg Elementary, which was near the strike center, and Einstein middle, Einstein High, Einstein Village D'Lest and Einstein Sherwood Forest. There were no reports of injuries at the schools, but the Einstein schools said they would be closed Wednesday as damage assessments are made.
The threat of the storms escalated quickly from a low chance of rain early in the week to a slight chance of severe weather forecast Monday to an enhanced risk of severe weather. No one was quite prepared for the multiple reports of tornadoes touching down.
A command post was being set up in New Orleans East where some of the worst damage occurred.
Video taken from New Orleans East hospital around 11:00 am today. Video owned by Sam Girault. pic.twitter.com/SrTrWocMXi— WWL-TV (@WWLTV) February 7, 2017
Exclusive WWLTV video of a roof getting blown off, 18 wheeler flipping over off Cold Storage Rd:
Exclusive video of a roof getting blown off, 18 wheeler flipping over off Cold Storage Rd pic.twitter.com/PmVGAJjbHa— Katie Moore (@katiecmoore) February 7, 2017
WWL-TV reports much of the metro area stayed indoors as heavy rains, wind and hail raced through the area earlier in the morning. The National Weather Service will have to verify that the damage, did in fact, come from tornadoes. To many of those who suffered damage, the naming won't really matter.
I was driving in NO & a tornado hit in the east. Please pray for this great neighborhood!🙏🏿 pic.twitter.com/hcpaG57P4l— Coach Tony Hull (@coachtonyhull) February 7, 2017
Tornados were also reported in Killian, Madisonville, Jefferson Parish and on the west bank.
(© 2017 WWL)