People walk in front of a damaged building after a tornado struck in the Arabi neighborhood, St. Bernard Parish, New Orleans, Louisiana March 22, 2022.
People walk in front of a damaged building after a tornado struck in the Arabi neighborhood, St. Bernard Parish, New Orleans, Louisiana March 22, 2022. Reuters / KATHLEEN FLYNN

Crews were assessing the damage on Wednesday on the east side of New Orleans where a powerful tornado killed at least one person and injured eight people as it left a two-mile path of destroyed homes, uprooted power lines and overturned vehicles.

A dark funnel cloud touched down at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday (0030 GMT on Wednesday), flattening buildings and turning over vehicles in the Arabi area of St. Bernard Parish.

A spokesperson for the parish, just east of downtown New Orleans, said first responders found a 26-year-old man dead near his home. Eight other people were taken to the hospital with minor injuries, parish spokesperson John Lane said.

"As of now we have no persons. Everybody has been accounted for that we know of at this point," he said, adding that search and rescue teams have finished most of their work.

Much of southern Louisiana is still recovering from Hurricane Ida, a fierce Category 4 storm last August that devastated rural communities to the south of New Orleans and killed more than 100 people in several U.S. states and the Caribbean.

On Tuesday, the Biden administration said it was allocating more than $1.7 billion to Louisiana after the last two destructive hurricane seasons, local media reported.

New Orleans, a city where the majority of residents are Black, is still traumatized by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, one of the most powerful storms in U.S. history, which killed at least 1,800 people.

Lane said crews and local officials were going block to block, assessing the damage left behind by the tornado that appeared to have stayed on a straight path for about 2 miles (3 km).

"The path the storm took - it's devastation," he said. "It did major destruction. Houses are off their foundations and into the street, no longer there, just blown to pieces."


Local media footage showed rubble where houses once stood, debris strewn across streets, overturned vehicles and power cables on the ground.

""It sounded like a train and I just said, 'no, no, no,'" a woman told television station WDSU. "I really thought I was going to die."

Some 1,700 homes and businesses were without power on Wednesday morning, according to Entergy, the local power company.

The same storm front that produced Tuesday's tornado brought heavy rain and winds to other parts of Louisiana, and to Mississippi and Alabama. It came a day after twisters also destroyed homes and injured people elsewhere in the region.

The system moved to the east and was producing strong thunderstorms along Florida's Panhandle on Wednesday. It could potentially bring damaging winds, tornados and hail to the region throughout the day, the National Weather Service said.

"As the action moves east this afternoon, we are concerned about severe weather," weather service meteorologist Andy Haner said. "The storm system as a whole has lost a lot of punch."