arabi louisiana tornado 0322
CNN on the ground in New Orleans after tornado ripped through the city
02:29 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

After a tornado roared through Arabi, Louisiana, Tuesday with 136 mph winds, the walls and roof of Angel Hahn’s house were gone and as the wind calmed, she grabbed her phone.

“I called my mama, and I said, ‘My house is gone,’” she told CNN affiliate WDSU.

“She said, ‘So is mine.’”

“I’m still in shock myself,” her mother, Monica Hazen, told the station while standing outside her nearby home. “I’m just trying to absorb it all.”

The mother and daughter are just two of the storm-battered residents in the New Orleans area still assessing the damage and reflecting on their scramble for safety as two tornadoes tore through the region, leaving one person dead and untold misery.

Residents assess damage to homes in Arabi, Louisiana, Wednesday.

The powerful tornado caused significant damage in Arabi, St. Bernard Parish President Guy McInnis said. Some homes were “picked up off their foundations and are lying in the street,” he said.

Connor Lambert, 25, was killed by the tornado Tuesday night, a St. Bernard Sheriff’s Office spokesperson said.

“Anybody that met him, loved him,” Connor’s grandfather, Bob Lambert, told CNN affiliate WDSU. “He was that kind of guy. There are no words to express what we are feeling.”

Eight people were hospitalized for injuries related to the storm, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said Wednesday during a news conference.

The National Weather Service rated the tornado an EF-3 rating on the Enhanced Fujita Scale, with damage estimates consistent with winds of 160 mph.

The tornado’s 11.5-mile path began in Gretna, moving through Arabi and into New Orleans East. Its maximum width was 320 yards.

Another Arabi resident, Damarys Olea, said her family – including her husband and two children ages 6 and 8 – used a mattress to cover themselves as they sought shelter in a bathroom of their home while the tornado swept through. The windows of her home were blown out and downed power lines fell on the family’s cars and yard – though the house itself was mostly spared.

Olea said as the tornado closed in, she felt pressure in her ears.

“It was scary. It was like being in a movie,” Olea said. “The wind, the pressure, the noise, the house shaking … it just felt like a train was going by.”

Another tornado touched down Tuesday evening in the Lacombe area of St. Tammany Parish, across Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans, the National Weather Service said. No injuries were immediately reported in Lacombe, but the tornado did snap dozens of trees, destroyed a shed and left minor roof damage, the weather service said.

That tornado was on the ground for 12.2 miles and had a maximum width of 100 yards, with peak winds preliminarily estimated at 90 mph, making it an EF-1 tornado, according to the weather service.

In New Orleans, about 50 structures saw some type of damage, but none of it was significant, and no injuries were reported in the city, officials said.

An overturned vehicle is seen Wednesday amid destroyed homes in Arabi, Louisiana.

System brought rain to the East Coast

The system brought record rainfall across parts of the South.

In Louisiana, Shreveport broke its 1871 daily record of 1.29 inches of rain when it saw 3.81 inches.

Multiple daily rainfall records were also broken in Alabama: Birmingham broke its 1908 rainfall record of 1.95 inches after 2.32 inches of rain fell; Tuscaloosa saw 3.56 inches, blowing past its previous record of 1.1 inches in 2012; Monticello received 2.87 inches, surpassing the record of 2.72 inches in 1968.

In Jackson, Mississippi, 1.69 inches of rain fell, breaking the 1953 record of 1.63 inches.

CNN’s Jason Hanna, Derek Van Dam, Robert Shackelford, Alisha Ebrahimji, Jamiel Lynch, Christina Maxouris, Raja Razek, Kelly McCleary, Steve Almasy, Devon Sayers, Monica Garrett, Gregory Lemos and Tina Burnside contributed to this report.