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Tornado rips through New Orleans and its suburbs, killing one

ARABI, LOUISIANA (AP) – A tornado tore through parts of New Orleans and its suburbs on Tuesday night, flipping cars, ripping roofs off homes and killing at least one person in an area of Louisiana pummeled by Hurricane Katrina 17 years ago.

Other tornadoes spawned by the same storm system had hit parts of Texas and Oklahoma on Monday, killing a woman north of Dallas and causing multiple injuries and widespread damage, before moving eastward.

Parts of St Bernard Parish, which borders New Orleans to the southeast, appeared to take the brunt of the weather’s fury, and that is where the fatality occurred. St Bernard Parish officials gave no details on how the person died; they said multiple other people were injured.

Rescue workers were searching through the suburban parish for more people in need of assistance, according to Sheriff Jimmy Pohlmann. St Bernard Parish President Guy McInnis said the tornado caused widespread damage throughout the parish.

New Orleans television stations broadcast live images of the storm as it barreled across the metropolitan area.

Residents stand among debris of their damaged homes after a tornado struck the area in Arabi. PHOTO: AP

The tornado appeared to start in a suburb and then move east across the Mississippi River into the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans and parts of St Bernard Parish – both badly damaged by Katrina – before moving northeast.

Many residents also suffered damage just last year when Category 4 Hurricane Ida swept through. Stacey Mancuso’s family just completed repairs to their home in the suburb of Arabi after Ida ripped off the roof and caused extensive water damage. Then the tornado on Tuesday tore through their street. She huddled in the laundry room with her husband; two children, aged 16 and 11; and dogs as part of their new roof was lifted away by the wind.

“We’re alive. That’s what I can say at this point. We still have four walls and part of a roof. I consider myself lucky,” said Mancuso. Still, the twister was the third time they’ve had major weather damage since Katrina in 2005.