Weather Video Captures Huge Tornado as It Touches Down in New Orleans

New Orleans is assessing the damage after a severe thunderstorm and gusty winds caused a large tornado to touch down in the city, triggering alerts for parts of Louisiana and Mississippi.

The tornado was confirmed in the New Orleans area around 7:30 p.m. local time on Tuesday evening, according to the National Weather Service New Orleans. The city was cleared of alerts by the service at 7:50 p.m. after the tornado and storm moved eastward. While the city is no stranger to weather-driven disasters, tornadoes are relatively rare and early reports indicate the storm has caused severe damage.

A video of the tornado's black funnel descending on the city's skyline was posted by WDSU-TV. The station reported that the tornado touched down in New Orleans' lower Ninth Ward, which was devastated in 2005 by Hurricane Katrina, as it moved eastward.

The National Weather Service (NWS) announced at 7:32 p.m. it confirmed "a large and extremely dangerous tornado" moving at 45 mph over Arabi, a community located east of New Orleans near Chalmette. At 7:45 p.m., the service confirmed a large tornado was located "near New Orleans."

Tornado touchdown near New Orleans
A tornado touches down in Chalmette, Louisiana, near New Orleans, on March 22, 2022. Preston Trahan/Storyful

"Mobile homes will be destroyed," the service said in its alert. "Considerable damage to homes, businesses, and vehicles is likely and complete destruction is possible."

Now that the NWS has given the all-clear, the extent of the damage is starting to come into focus.

"State agencies are assisting local officials as needed as they assess the damage and impacts of these tornadoes," Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said in a tweet. "My prayers are with you in Southeast Louisiana tonight. Please be safe."

Andrés Fuentes, a reporter with WVUE-TV, tweeted out pictures and video of the tornado's damage. He added that officials with St. Bernard Parish, to the city's east, have said "damage is extreme, many homes leveled."

Images posted by Fuentes show Arabi littered with debris from the tornado.

The extent of the damage from the tornado is not clear. Newsweek has reached out to the city of New Orleans and Edwards' office for updates.

Jared Klein, meteorologist at the regional office of the NWS, told Newsweek that storm survey teams will look at damage to determine the tornado's path and intensity with an assessment to be issued in the coming days.

Figures from the city of New Orleans show tornados have injured 60 people and caused one death since 2000, with the most recent occurring in 2019.

By far, New Orleans saw the most severe tornado in February of 2017 when a tornado caused $38.2 million in damages and injured 33 people. The tornado, which struck the eastern part of the city, was classified as an EF3, which has wind speeds between 136 and 165 mph.

The NWS had issued a tornado warning for the area earlier in the evening. After the tornado cleared New Orleans, the service issued tornado warnings for Slidell, Louisiana, as well as Picayune and Nicholson in Mississippi until 8:30 p.m.