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Large tornado hits New Orleans, causing extensive damage, Louisiana

A destructive wedge tornado ripped through parts of New Orleans, Louisiana Tuesday night, March 22, 2022, causing extensive damage, killing at least one person, and leaving several others injured. This raised the number of fatalities related to the severe weather outbreak affecting the Deep South over the past few days to 2. Severe storms with the potential for damaging winds and brief tornadoes can be expected across the Southeast today. Strong to severe storms will be possible into the Ohio Valley and southern Mid-Atlantic. Some storms may produce locally heavy rain and flash flooding.

The tornado touched down at approximately 19:35 CDT in a New Orleans suburb and then moved east across the Mississippi River into the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans and parts of St. Bernard Parish before moving northeast. It was on the ground for about 15 minutes.

St. Bernard Parish appears to have taken the brunt of the storm. This is where the fatality and injuries were reported but officials are yet to give details.1

The New Orleans Fire Department has requested a major EMS response following the tornado. The damage was said to be significant in parts of Lower Ninth Ward and nearby suburb Arabi.2

A Fox 8 New Orleans report from the area shows immense structural damage, overturned cars, and downed power lines.

The tornado and the associated storm were a part of the same system that hit parts of Texas and other south-central states this week, leaving at least 1 fatality and more than a dozen people injured.2

“The same storm system which brought widespread severe weather and heavy rainfall the past couple of days across the Deep South will continue into the Eastern U.S. today, although the severe and flash flood threat should wane somewhat as the environment becomes less favorable,” NWS forecaster Santorelli noted on March 23.3

Even still, heavy rainfall is possible along the front across the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic today, with WPC highlighting this with a marginal to slight risk for excessive rain/flash flooding.

SPC also has a slight risk for severe thunderstorms across much of the Southeast, as well as farther north and west into parts of the Ohio Valley.

Rainfall will also expand across the Midwest and into the Northeast with modest snow and ice accumulations continuing on Wednesday for parts of the northern Great Lakes.

Rain should exit the East Coast with the front by Thursday, though may linger across the Northeast/New England as a secondary low forms and lifts up the coast.

Some wintry weather is likely in the highest elevations of New England.

In the wake of this expansive system, a colder air mass should settle in, with below-normal temperatures spreading from the Plains on Wednesday into the Midwest/Ohio Valley Thursday and Friday.

References:

1 Tornado rips through New Orleans and its suburbs, killing 1 – AP

2 Tornado seen tearing through Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans – AccuWeather

3 Short Range Forecast Discussion – NWS Weather Prediction Center – College Park MD – 345 AM EDT Wed Mar 23 2022

Featured image: Tornado in New Orleans on March 22, 2022. Credit: BBC (stillshot)

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