Hardest hit tornado victims could be without power for days

Published: Mar. 23, 2022 at 6:04 AM CDT|Updated: Mar. 24, 2022 at 6:27 AM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Over 600 people remain without power Thursday morning in St. Bernard Parish.

Entergy crews worked to restore power to more than 3,500 in the hours following the devastating EF-3 tornado.

The path of Tuesday night’s powerful tornado was easily discernible in the predawn hours Wednesday, by seeing the swath of powerless streets and neighborhoods on the utility’s outage map. It showed 3,472 Entergy New Orleans customers without power at 5:15 a.m. in a direct line of affected neighborhoods, and hundreds more Entergy Louisiana customers without electricity in other service areas.

Nearly 3,500 Entergy New Orleans customers were without power early Wednesday (March 23), hours...
Nearly 3,500 Entergy New Orleans customers were without power early Wednesday (March 23), hours after a large tornado passed from the West Bank of Jefferson Parish into Arabi, St. Bernard Parish and New Orleans East.(WVUE-Fox 8)

More: Tornadoes cause major damage in Arabi, Lower 9th Ward, and other areas

Power was restored to two areas on the West Bank where tornadoes first touched down in parts of Harvey, Gretna, and Terrytown.

The tornado moved out of Jefferson Parish and crossed the Mississippi River into Orleans and St. Bernard parishes next, appearing to strengthen over the water before lashing Arabi to inflict its most devastating damage. Entergy’s outage map showed 2,100 customers without power -- many also without habitable houses -- in a direct path that roughly tracked right along the Orleans-St. Bernard parish line.

Entergy spokesman David Freese said that as of 10 a.m. Tuesday, the companies had completed about 50 percent of field assessments in St. Bernard Parish and around 80 percent in Orleans Parish. Already, 90 poles, 50 transformers and 100 spans of wire had been identified as damaged by the weather event, Freese said.

In addition, Entergy said three transmission line segments near Chalmette and a substation in Arabi were “severely damaged.”

“The damage is extensive, and in some areas, this will be a total rebuild of the electric system,” Entergy vice president John Hawkins said.

The utility also warned people in the affected areas to stay clear of downed power lines and debris, as energized power lines might not be visible buried in rubble. Downed power lines should be reported to 1-800-ENTERGY (1-800-3683749).

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