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Tornado hit Uptown went over river to Algiers, NWS confirms

The National Weather Service confirmed that a tornado touched down in New Orleans Wednesday for the first time since 2019.

NEW ORLEANS — The National Weather Service says that, yes, it was a full tornado that passed through New Orleans in the early hours of Wednesday morning, causing damage across the city. 

Lauren Nash, the Warning Coordinator for the National Weather Service in New Orleans, made the announcement. 

It was an EF-0 tornado, with top winds of about 85 mph. 

Nash said the tornado first touched down around 2:05 a.m. in the Carrollton and Claiborne area, doing mostly tree damage before heading east, over the Amtrak building, where it caused roof damage.

"It then tracked southeast, knocking down trees and branches in the Central Business District, and eventually it crossed the Mississippi River into Algiers," Nash said. "It knocked down trees and power poles before and doing some minor damage there before lifting near the Naval Support Center around 2:12 a.m."

According to Nash's timeline, the tornado made its way from Uptown, through the Central Business District and across the river to Algiers in about 7 minutes time.

Credit: WWLTV

Nash said the last tornado in New Orleans was in summer 2019 in the French Quarter. 

The tornado warning was issued just after 2 a.m. during the back end of a days-long series of severe thunderstorms that rolled over the metro area.

In its wake, the tornado left damage and debris, but no injuries. Power outages peaked just after it passed, with close to 15,000 Entergy customers without power in the metro area. Most of those customers had electricity restored within a few hours, though some customers in the harder-hit areas remain without power.

Entergy estimates that power will be restored to the Carrollton area by 9 p.m. and to Algiers by 6 p.m.

After a possible tornado has passed through an area, the National Weather Service sends a team to evaluate the damage in order to determine how fast the cyclone was spinning. If wind speeds hit at least 65 mph, it's considered an EF 0 tornado - the weakest category. 

The evaluations can take hours or days depending on the size of the debris field and how long a possible tornado touched down. 

"It's kind of like a puzzle," Nash said. "It doesn't happen very often here in a city environment."

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