Tornado confirmed in New Orleans

By Maureen Chowdhury, Seán Federico O'Murchú and Tori B. Powell, CNN

Updated 6:22 AM ET, Thu December 15, 2022
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1:38 a.m. ET, December 15, 2022

CNN's continuing coverage of severe weather can be found here.

10:07 p.m. ET, December 14, 2022

2 schools in Jefferson Parish will be closed due to storm damage

From CNN's Joe Sutton and Amanda Musa

Two schools in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana — West Jefferson High School and L.H. Marrero Middle School — will be closed Thursday due to damage following severe weather Wednesday evening, according to Jefferson Parish President Cynthia Lee Sheng. 

Crews are currently assessing damage at all parish schools, she said.

Sheng did not say how long the schools will be closed.

Meanwhile, Arabi Elementary School in St. Bernard Parish will be closed Thursday due to a loss of power, according to a news release. It will reopen Friday, it said.

All other public schools in St. Bernard Parish remain open.

9:07 p.m. ET, December 14, 2022

Tornado caused "catastrophic destruction" in city of Gretna, mayor says

From CNN's Andy Rose

Mayor Belinda Constant and Chief Arthur Lawson
Mayor Belinda Constant and Chief Arthur Lawson (CNN)

As many as 5,000 structures were likely damaged when a tornado struck the town of Gretna, across the Mississippi River from New Orleans, on Wednesday, Mayor Belinda Constant said.

“We've seen catastrophic destruction from both ends of the city,” Constant told CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

Constant added that it is too dark to do a reliable damage survey. 

The biggest concern is the number of destroyed buildings, Police Chief Arthur Lawson told Cooper.

“I believe tomorrow, when daylight comes, we're going to see a lot more damage than we see now,” he said.

8:44 p.m. ET, December 14, 2022

4 people taken to hospitals after damage in the Algiers area of New Orleans, official says

From CNN's Joe Sutton

Authorities in New Orleans are currently assessing damage after a severe storm that prompted a tornado warning struck the area.

There is damage in the Algiers neighborhood, which on the west bank of the Mississippi River, Collin Arnold, director of the New Orleans Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness told CNN in a phone interview. 

At least one house collapsed in the area and other residences and businesses have been impacted, Arnold said.

Four residents were taken to area hospitals and they are in stable condition, according to the director. Power is being restored citywide and crews are actively doing damage assessments, he added.

8:29 p.m. ET, December 14, 2022

"I can’t process that any of this is real." Tornado leaves New Iberia resident without a home

From CNN's Sara Smart

Lizzie Taylor shared images of damage from the storm in New Iberia, Lousiana.
Lizzie Taylor shared images of damage from the storm in New Iberia, Lousiana. (Courtesy Lizzie Taylor)

Lizzie Taylor left her home in New Iberia, Louisiana, about 5 minutes before a tornado destroyed it. She now is left without a place to live.

“All of the units are destroyed,” Taylor told CNN. “The landlord let us know he is going to have them demolished.”

Taylor says she and her family have lived in their apartment for about a year.

“I can’t process that any of this is real,” She said, “It just isn’t sinking in.”

As a nurse, Taylor’s first instinct was to help her neighbors. She says she did what she could to assist people that were injured by debris.

For now, Taylor and her family are staying with another family until they can figure out another living situation.

New Iberia, with a population of about 28,000 people, is about 20 miles south of Lafayette.

8:20 p.m. ET, December 14, 2022

Jefferson Parish president to issue a state of emergency following severe storms

From CNN's Amanda Musa

Jefferson Parish President Cynthia Lee Sheng told CNN affiliate WDSU that she plans to declare a state of emergency.

Currently, Sheng said she does not know of any fatalities in Jefferson Parish but that significant damage is spread across the area, including downed power lines. 

Much of Jefferson Parish is without power, she said.

Jefferson, which neighbors New Orleans, has a population of 430,000 people, according to the census.

8:04 p.m. ET, December 14, 2022

At least 3 people have died due to severe storms, Louisiana Department of Health says

At least three people have died due to severe storm-related events, according to the Louisiana Department of Health.

This includes a 56-year-old woman in St. Charles Parish, who died after a tornado hit her home in the Killona area, the department said.

"This brings the total number of confirmed Louisiana storm-related deaths due to this storm event to 3 at this time," the health department tweeted.

View the tweet, below:

7:43 p.m. ET, December 14, 2022

Latest watch: 2 million in path of tornadoes, hail and wind

From CNN's Dave Hennen

A new tornado watch including Pensacola, Panama City and Montgomery is in effect until 1 a.m. CDT, according to the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center. 

The watch, which covers over 2 million people, includes southern Alabama, the Florida Panhandle and southwest Georgia.

It calls for several tornadoes, quarter-size hail and wind gusts up to 65 mph.

8:38 p.m. ET, December 14, 2022

Tornado touched down at 4 p.m. in Arabi, St. Bernard Parish sheriff says

From CNN’s Amanda Musa

St. Bernard Parish Sheriff James Pohlmann said the tornado touched down in Arabi, Louisiana, around 4:00 p.m. local time Wednesday evening, leaving behind about two miles of destruction.

Ten people have been rescued due to severe weather, But no serious injuries or deaths have been reported, Pohlmann said during a news conference.

Officials will be out conducting search and rescue efforts throughout the night, Pohlmann said. Much of the St. Bernard Parish is without power, he added.

St. Bernard Parish President Guy McInnis says a complete assessment of the damage will be done Thursday but said he does not know of any buildings that have been totally destroyed in the parish.