A large, deadly tornado battered parts of the New Orleans area on Tuesday night, with damage reported in Arabi and the Lower Ninth Ward.
St. Bernard Parish president Guy McInnis told CNN one person had died in the Arabi neighborhood. McInnis had no details on the fatality and said parish officials have several reports of residents going to the hospital, but no specific numbers on injuries. Some homes were “picked up off their foundations and are lying in the street,” he said. McInnis earlier described the damage in Arabi as widespread and major, according to CNN affiliate WDSU. Emergency responders are conducting search and rescue efforts. That includes units from the State Fire Marshal’s Office, the agency said.
Multiple tornadoes ripped through parts of Texas and Oklahoma, causing injuries and widespread damage in areas near Austin and Dallas, officials said. The storm system was poised to move into Louisiana and Mississippi on Tuesday, carrying the risk of dangerous tornadoes and powerful winds.
In Texas, several tornadoes were reported Monday along the Interstate 35 corridor, particularly in the Austin suburbs of Round Rock and Elgin, and in an area west-northwest of Dallas-Fort Worth. Another reported tornado caused damage in the southern Oklahoma town of Kingston.
At least four people were injured Monday in Texas, officials said.
By Tuesday morning, the system was bringing heavy rainfall and thunderstorms to parts of Texas and Arkansas, said Jeremy Grams, lead forecaster with the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma. A tornado watch was in effect for parts of Texas and Louisiana.
Flooding advisories are in effect for many affected and connected areas as a result of the Southern storms.
Through Tuesday night and into early Wednesday morning, the risk of flooding will be greatest from the central Gulf Coast northward to much of Kentucky and the southern portions of Indiana, Illinois and Missouri, as well as the western parts of Virginia and North Carolina.
This same area under the spotlight for severe thunderstorms, as well as locations farther north, will also be at risk for heavy rainfall that can cause flash flooding on small streams and around urban locations. The copious rainfall could also produce significant rises on some of the rivers.
Flash flooding can create dangerous conditions for motorists, especially for those venturing on secondary roads at night, when it may be difficult to see high water due to terrain and lighting conditions, experts say.
Meanwhile, the West continues to face worsening and prolonged conditions of drought, according to the NOAA:
NOAA issued its U.S. Spring Outlook today and for the second year in a row, forecasters predict prolonged, persistent drought in the West where below-average precipitation is most likely. NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center — part of the National Weather Service — is also forecasting above-average temperatures for most of the U.S. from the Desert Southwest to the East Coast and north through the Midwest to the Canadian border from April to June.
“Severe to exceptional drought has persisted in some areas of the West since the summer of 2020 and drought has expanded to the southern Plains and Lower Mississippi Valley,” said Jon Gottschalck, chief, Operational Prediction Branch, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “With nearly 60% of the continental U.S. experiencing minor to exceptional drought conditions, this is the largest drought coverage we’ve seen in the U.S. since 2013.”