Watch: Storm’s latest coverage on New Orleans tornado damage

NEW ORLEANS (WGNO/AP) – A tornado ripped through parts of New Orleans and its suburbs on Tuesday evening, downing power lines and scattering debris in a part of the city that had been badly damaged by the hurricane Katrina 17 years ago.

St. Bernard Parish Sheriff Jimmy Pohlmann told a news conference that one person was confirmed dead and several others injured in the suburb.

Other tornadoes spawned by the same storm system struck parts of Texas and Oklahoma, killing one person and causing multiple injuries and extensive damage.

Video taken by a local television station showed a large black funnel visible in the darkened sky looming among buildings in eastern New Orleans.

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

Reggie Ford was nearby when the tornado hit. He left the area by car, only to return once she passed, to offer help to anyone who needed it. So far, he says, the streets are eerily quiet, filled only with further devastation from the tornado.

“I see downed power lines. A church is completely destroyed. Three businesses are completely destroyed. There are eight blocks without a roof,” the New Orleans resident said. The video he posted on Instagram shows streets clogged with debris and shredded buildings. A dented car is lying on its roof.

Debris was spread over an area covering several blocks east of New Orleans.

In the New Orleans suburb of Arabi, there was a strong smell of natural gas in the air as residents and emergency personnel stood in the street and surveyed the damage. Some homes were destroyed as pieces of debris hung from power lines and trees. An aluminum fishing boat in front of a house was bent into a C shape with the motor across the street. Power poles had fallen and bent, forcing rescuers to walk slowly through dark neighborhoods to check for damage.

Ashton Gibbs was in the area at the time of the tornado and captured footage of the storm. Check it out below.

Michelle Malasovich lives in Arabi. Initially, she was worried about her family who live in areas north of Louisiana that were also affected by bad weather. She was texting with her family there when, she said, “All of a sudden the lights started flickering.”

She didn’t hear the distinctive sound of the freight train that many people think accompanies a tornado, but it was very windy and her husband yelled at her to get out of the bedroom. He was on the porch and saw the tornado coming.

“It just kept getting stronger and stronger,” Malasovich said. After he passed, they went out to see the damage. “Our neighbor’s house is in the middle of the street right now.”

Malasovich’s household did relatively well, she said. Some columns were blown off the porch and the windows of his Jeep were blown out. At the end of the street, a house was badly damaged and parked vehicles were moved by the winds: “It’s serious for here.”

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell tweeted Tuesday evening that there are currently no reports of casualties or significant damage to Orleans Parish and that @EntergyNOLA partners are working to restore the supply of the 8,000 customers affected.

About 13,000 homes and businesses were reported to have been without power in the three parishes around New Orleans after the storm.

Stay tuned to WGNO News on ABC 26 for continued coverage of the storm.

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