A car is flipped over after a tornado tore through the area in Arabi, New Orleans, Louisiana, on Tuesday. AP
A large tornado destroyed homes and claimed at least one life near the US city of New Orleans on Tuesday night, according to media reports.
At least one person was killed in Arabi, the president of the parish — equivalent to a county in Louisiana — told local TV station WDSU.
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"Large Tornado on the ground in New Orleans! Take shelter now!" tweeted the National Weather Service's local office at 8:35 pm local time (0235 GMT) as the city that had been heavily damaged by Hurricane Katrina 17 years ago.
People walk in front of a damaged building after a tornado struck St. Bernard Parish, New Orleans. Reuters
"Severe damage to homes" was reported in Arabi, an eastern suburb of New Orleans, according to a Facebook post by the sheriff's office in St. Bernard Parish.
"Rescue efforts are under way for residents trapped in their homes," it added.
Other tornadoes spawned by the same storm system hit parts of Texas and Oklahoma, killing one person and causing multiple injuries and widespread damage.
A video taken by a local television station showed a large black funnel visible in the darkened sky looming among the buildings in the eastern part of New Orleans.
The tornado appeared to start in a New Orleans suburb and then move east across the Mississippi River into the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans and parts of St. Bernard Parish — both of which were badly damaged by Katrina — before moving northeast.
The storm-surge watches warn residents of possible flooding from rising waters and coastal inundations in the city, known worldwide for its Mardi Gras and jazz.
Pat Lindsey, a resident of the county's hard-hit town of Ohatchee, told The Associated Press that a neighbor of his was killed when a twister destroyed his mobile home. "He was good as gold,” Lindsey said.
Delta, about 250 miles (400 km) south of Cameron, Louisiana with maximum sustained winds of 120 miles per hour (195 km/h) at present, could slowly weaken as it approaches the northern Gulf coast later on Friday.
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