Powerful Tornado Causes Widespread Damage In New Orleans

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A powerful tornado ripped through New Orleans on March 22, 2022 (Credit: Louisiana DODT)

The residents of New Orleans can't seem to catch a break from natural disasters. Just over a year after being battered by Hurricane Ida, the beautiful city has been hit by a powerful tornado. The twister, which boasted wind speeds of 160 mph, made landfall shortly before 8:00 pm local time on March 22, 2022.

Since most homes have no basements, residents had to seek other areas to shelter when the dark, ominous clouds began to appear. Some families rode out the storm huddled inside closets, while others spent the harrowing 17 minutes crouched inside bathrooms.

The tornado caused widespread damage in the suburb of Arabi (Credit: Louisiana DOTD)

The tornado left widespread destruction along its 11.5-mile-long path. Arabi, a New Orleans suburb —which suffered extensive damage during both Hurricane Katrina (2005) and Hurricane Ida (2021) — was the hardest hit. The twister downed trees and utility poles, flipped cars and school buses, and ripped off roofs and walls from homes and buildings. Initial estimates indicate that more than 300 buildings and homes had been damaged. Of these, 41 were completely razed, and 92 will require significant repair. Miraculously, few people were injured, and only one is believed to have died.

The suburb's residents were initially shell-shocked at the devastation. But as the day wore on, the resilient community regrouped, helping friends and neighbors cut down tree limbs, gather whatever belongings remained, and haul away debris.

The tornado stemmed from the same storm that caused multiple tornadoes in Texas and Mississippi (Credit: TropicalAnalystwx13/CC BY-SA 4.0/ Creativecommons.org)

The National Weather Service classified the recent twister as an EF3 on the Enhanced Fujita scale. With winds of 160 mph, it is New Orleans's strongest tornado on record. The previous record-holder was an EF3 tornado that struck the city with 150 mph winds in 2017.

The New Orleans tornado is believed to have sprung from the same storm responsible for the 10 tornadoes that tore through parts of Texas and Mississippi on March 21, 2021. The twisters, which ranged in strength from EF-0 to EF-3, left behind a trail of destruction, injured dozens, and killed at least one person. More than 90,000 homes and businesses were left without power.

We wish the residents of all the affected areas a quick and speedy recovery!

Resources: NPR.com, accuweahther.com, Nola.com, WashingtonPost.com

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142 Comments
  • pookpine
    pookpine4 days
    I have been through two tornados. When I was 5 or 6 I lived in Alabama, one night (late) we all woke up because we herd tornado sirens, and when my mom looked out the door, she saw a tornado ( At the moment she thought it was smoke) and it was coming strait toward us! Luckily we lived near a mountain and it went over us. but it was SO strong it started making the roof creek and blew away our neighbor's fence away! The second time it happened was when I was 8 or 9 ( 2 or 3 years ago) and again in the middle of the night, we all woke up ( all except my little brother, my mom had to wake him up 😆) because we herd tornado sirens but this time we live in Missouri (we still do) and we don't live by any mountains so we watched the news. An yes, there was a tornado on the ground not even a county away! I WAS SHIVERING. About 30 minutes later the tornado sirens went off and it didn't hit us. 😅Thanks for reading my comment! God bless! 🙂
    • pookpine
      pookpine4 days
      That is so sad, I will be praying for all those people who lost there homes or family members.
      • jessicasung
        very scary
        • summerheart
          That's so sad I wander what number tornado that is because it said it was powerful
          • clairespc123
            I'm just scared because my biggest fear is death and I can't imagine what it would be like to experience that
            • clairespc123
              Omg were you really there?
              • esiks
                esiksabout 1 month
                that was massive, stay strong and think positive😀!
                • jpoko2031
                  jpoko2031about 1 month
                  I was there when that happend
                  • tacomonster1072
                    tacomonster1072about 1 month
                    OMG!!!
                    • lexiea337
                      lexiea337about 2 months
                      wow that was crazy!