More than 60 tornadoes tear through 5 states in 2 days

A suspected EF-3 twister hit St. Bernard's Parish in New Orleans.

March 23, 2022, 4:26 PM

A deadly tornado tore through homes and knocked out power in the New Orleans area on Tuesday night, killing one person and injuring multiple others, authorities said.

The twister was one of more than 60 tornadoes reported in five southeastern states in two days, officials said.

A funnel cloud caused damage in St. Bernard's Parish, in the eastern part of New Orleans, including the Ninth Ward, Chalmette and Arabi areas of the parish. It hit at around 7:30 p.m. local time Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.

One person was killed in Arabi, St. Bernard's Parish President Guy McInnis told ABC News.

PHOTO: Faye Raimey recovers a garden flag as she looks through the rubble of her tornado damaged home after a tornado touched down in Arabi, La., March 23, 2022.
Faye Raimey recovers a garden flag as she looks through the rubble of her tornado damaged home after a tornado touched down in Arabi, La., March 23, 2022.
Max Becherer/AP

"It's pretty bad. We have about a two-mile stretch of where this tornado tore through our community," McInnis said in an interview Wednesday on "Good Morning America."

McInnis said that in addition to one death in Arabi, seven other people in the community were hospitalized with injuries. He called it a "miracle" that more people weren't killed or injured given the swath of destruction.

PHOTO: A tornado-damaged home is seen in the Arabi neighborhood of New Orleans, La on March 23, 2022. Two tornados struck New Orleans last night, leaving several neighborhoods destroyed and at least one person dead.
A tornado-damaged home is seen in the Arabi neighborhood of New Orleans, La on March 23, 2022. Two tornados struck New Orleans last night, leaving several neighborhoods destroyed and at least one person dead.
Brandon Bell/Getty Images

"We have houses that were lifted up and now they sit in the middle of the street," McInnis said. "We have, you know, houses in an area that are totally leveled."

The National Weather Service said it is surveying the damage in St. Benard's Parish and that a preliminary review of the destruction indicates the tornado that hit the area was at least an EF-3, the third strongest twister on the Enhanced Fujita Scale. EF-3 tornadoes usually pack winds of more than 130 mph.

PHOTO: A debris lined street is seen in the Lower 9th Ward, Tuesday, March 22, 2022, in New Orleans, after strong storms moved through the area.
A debris lined street is seen in the Lower 9th Ward, Tuesday, March 22, 2022, in New Orleans, after strong storms moved through the area.
Gerald Herbert/AP

McInnis said rescue crews searched the hard-hit areas overnight and again on Wednesday.

"We have no reports of anyone missing at this time and no one trapped in homes," McInnis said.

Raymond Theriot, chief investigator of the St. Bernard Parish Coroner’s Office, confirmed to ABC News that Connor Lambert, 25, died after the tornado hit his home in Arabi. Authorities later found him a block away from his home, and the cause of death was multiple blunt force trauma, according to Theriot.

A second suspected tornado touched down in Lacombe in Tammany Parrish, across Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans, according to the National Weather Service. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage to homes in Lacombe.

After touring Arabi and St. Bernard Parish on Wednesday, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards described the damage as "tremendous," adding that "we can be very thankful that there was only one death."

PHOTO: Authorities survey damage in the Lower 9th Ward, Tuesday, March 22, 2022, in New Orleans, after strong storms moved through the area.
Authorities survey damage in the Lower 9th Ward, Tuesday, March 22, 2022, in New Orleans, after strong storms moved through the area.
Gerald Herbert/AP

Early spring storms churned up tornadoes in Texas and Oklahoma one day earlier. A 73-year-old woman was killed while another 10 people were injured in Grayson County, Texas, according to Sarah Somers, the director of the county's office of emergency.

On Monday and Tuesday, a total of 63 tornadoes were reported in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Texas and Oklahoma.

The strongest tornado hit Monday night in Jacksboro, Texas, and was rated as a strong EF-3 twister with winds reaching 150 mph, according to the National Weather Service. An EF-2 tornado packing 130 mph winds was confirmed in Sherwood Shores north of Dallas on Monday, according to the weather service.

ABC News' Matt Foster, Jim Ryan and Victoria Arancio contributed to this report.

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