The National Weather Service out of New Orleans is now confirming two different tornadoes did touch down in southeast Louisiana around 7:30pm on March 22, 2022.
Governor John Bel Edwards has declared a state of emergency and spent his day today surveying the damage and meeting with tornado victims.
Many people described it as a freight train and said it was fast to arrive and quick to pass over as well.
The most destructive of the two was in St. Bernard Parish in Arabi where a 25-yr-old man was killed, several others were sent to hospitals and dozens of homes were leveled.
Neighbors of the young man said he had recently moved to the home and had gotten home just minutes before the tornado. He ran inside his home to save his dog. Unfortunately, he was found holding his dog a distance from his home and did not survive his injuries.
It appears as of now from the damage assessment so far, the Arabi tornado is going to be at least an EF-3 tornado. A category 3 tornado means winds between 158-206 mph with severe damage including roofs and walls torn from homes, heavy cars lifted and tossed around like toys and even capable of turning over trains just to give you a sense of how strong an EF-3 can be.
For those not familiar, Hurricane Katrina in 2005 all but wiped out St. Bernard Parish. In fact, it was the parish most devastated and had the most people move out post Katrina. However, many moved back to their homes, rebuilt and started over only to be devastated again, this time by a tornado. Tornadoes are very rare for the New Orleans area.
Survey crews remain on the scene in Arabi so the category could easily be upgraded. Search and rescue efforts continue today as well. In fact, the Louisiana Fire Marshal’s Office sent in nearly 100 firefighters as part of the Urban Search & Rescue Task Force to help with search & rescue and damage survey. From the Baton Rouge area, firefighters from Baton Rouge Fire, Zachary, Central & West Feliciana Fire all left around 10pm on March 22 to help their fellow firefighter family.
The second tornado passed through Lacombe, that’s just north of Slidell.
“Survey showed damage indicating an EF1 rating with max winds of 90mph, a max width of 100 yards, and a path length of 12.2 miles,” said the NWS.
Members of the Cajun Navy 2016 also left for Arabi last night to help in the search & rescue efforts saying there was no shortage of first responders on the ground within minutes.