Tornado touched down in Carrollton area; cleanup expected to take a week

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National Weather Service meteorologists determined Wednesday (May 12) that it really was a tornado that left a path of destruction across New Orleans.

It landed near South Carrollton and South Claiborne avenues at 2:05 a.m., officials said. An NWS map shows the touchdown point as just south of Claiborne and east of Carrollton.

It blew through the neighborhood with 85 mph winds and then headed to Broadmoor on its way to the CBD and Algiers.

Preliminary reports for the Carrollton and Algiers areas show about two dozen houses with minor damage and about 10 houses with moderate damage, officials said. No homes were destroyed, and no injuries were reported.

Officials urge residents to stay safe as they are cleaning up their yards or making their way around the affected areas.

“One of the most dangerous portions of a disaster is the response and cleanup,” said Ramsey Green, the city’s infrastructure chief, at a press conference Wednesday afternoon, “particularly when power is out and our resources are spread across the city.”

The storm left about 10,000 households across the city without power early Wednesday. According to Entergy New Orleans, about 200 Uptown customers were still without power at 8 p.m.

Robert Morris, Uptown Messenger

Downed tree dislodged the sidewalk at the corner of Lowerline and Jeanette by Lusher Charter School.

Debris removal started Wednesday morning. By 3:30  p.m., Green said, the city had hauled off six dump truck loads of downed limbs and other debris. The streets that were cleared included Carrollton, Pine, Audubon, South Dorgenois and Broadway, he said.

Green said he expects the city to take a week to remove the debris from the public right of way. To report any downed trees or limbs in the roadway, call 311. If power lines or poles are still down, call 800-968-8243.

Heavy equipment and ground crews will be continue to be mobilized to clear the streets and other public property. “Look out for them. Slow down,” he said.

Debris removed from private property will be picked up on the normal trash days. The city will not activate the city’s emergency debris contractors.

“If you live where this stuff fell, sweep and rake up in front of your home,” Green said.

Tree limbs need to be cut into sections of no more than 4 feet, then bundled and taken to the curb, where they will be picked up on the second trash day. Leaves and other debris should be bagged and put in the trash can.

Ramsey said he feared people will get hurt during the cleanup. “What I saw this morning on the West Bank in Algiers — moms pushing strollers near power lines — don’t do that,” he said. “Stay away. Just stay away.”

City officials also reminded residents with damage to their home or car to start the insurance claims process by documenting and taking photos. Anyone who owns a business that sustained damage should contact the city’s Office of Economic Development.

The early morning tornado was the 10th to touch down in New Orleans since 2000, NWS officials said. The last one was July 10, 2019, when a tornado was reported on the lakefront. On Feb. 7, 2017, a tornado touched down in New Orleans East.

As the hurricane season approaches on top of an exceptionally wet spring, all residents are urged to sign on to the city’s emergency alert system by texting NOLAREADY to 77295 or registering online here.

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