ORLEANS PARISH - The Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) Crisis Action Team (CAT) has been activated in order to address any requests for support from parishes and other state agencies due to Tuesday's tornadic activity.
Seven areas across southeast Louisiana sustained possible tornado damage during several rounds of storms lasting most of the day.
Governor John Bel Edwards has declared a state of emergency and FEMA preliminary damage assessment teams are scheduled to begin work Wednesday in impacted areas in order to help determine what levels of Federal assistance will be available.
Tornado activity was spotted by the New Orleans Fire Department and the New Orleans Police Department in the area of Chef Menteur Highway.
The National Weather Service (NWS) confirmed a tornado touchdown at approximately 10:45 a.m. between the 700 block of St. George Avenue and 3700 block of Jefferson Highway. The parish will continue to work with the NWS to confirm path and intensity.
Officials and NWS confirmed tornadic activity in the Killian and Springfield area. Another possible tornado was reported in the Watson area damaging homes in the northern portion of the parish.
A tornado was said to have touched down in the Donaldsonville area at approximately 11 a.m. near the Old Rice Mill. Other damage was reported in Donaldsonville on Williams and St. Patrick Streets.
A tornado was reported on the west side of the Sunshine Bridge. Officials said there is damage on June Street in a small community known as Lemannville. The NWS said this may be the same system that struck Donaldsonville.
Three possible tornadoes impacted the parish. A large tornado was reported in Akers south of Ponchatoula before the moving towards Madisonville. A second possible tornado caused damage in Ponchatoula. A third possible tornado impacted an area near Amite. The NWS said this may be the same system that passed through the Killian area.
There were reports of a tornado touchdown in Madisonville at Highway 22 and Pine Street. There is more possible damage in northern St Tammany.
There have been 28 reported injuries in the New Orleans region due to the storms. Nine more have been reported in the Baton Rouge region. Two injuries were reported in the North Shore region.
There have been no reports of fatalities at this time.
“The numerous alerts provided by the media, the National Weather Service, local agencies and state agencies likely saved lives considering the widespread damage across the region. We may continue to see more severe weather systems like today’s storms due to our unusually warm winter. Please stay out of the damaged areas so that first responders and utility crews can complete their work. Additional traffic in impacted areas could cause initial recovery work to be delayed," GOHSEP Director James Waskom said.
GOHSEP has answered requests from Orleans Parish for items such as cots, blankets, food and water related to local shelter operations. The Louisiana Army National Guard is providing 150 personnel to Orleans to help with security issues. Thirty-six additional deputies are also being provided by outside agencies through a Louisiana Sheriff’s Association emergency task force.