“I’m still in shock myself,” her mother, Monica Hazen, told the station while standing outside her nearby home. “I’m just trying to absorb it all.”
The mother and daughter are just two of the storm-battered residents in the New Orleans area still assessing the damage and reflecting on their scramble for safety as two tornadoes tore through the region, leaving one person dead and untold misery.
The powerful tornado caused significant damage in Arabi, St. Bernard Parish President Guy McInnis said. Some homes were “picked up off their foundations and are lying in the street,” he said.
Eight people were hospitalized for injuries related to the storm, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said Wednesday during a news conference.
Another Arabi resident, Damarys Olea, said her family — including her husband and two children ages 6 and 8 — used a mattress to cover themselves as they sought shelter in a bathroom of their home as the tornado swept through. The windows of her home were blown out and downed powerlines fell on the family’s cars and yard — though the house itself was mostly spared.
Olea said as the tornado closed in, she felt pressure in her ears.
“We felt the pressure, and it was scary. It was like being in a movie,” Olea said. “The wind, the pressure, the noise, the house shaking … it just felt like a train was going by.”
That tornado was on the ground for 12.2 miles and had a maximum width of 100 yards, with peak winds preliminarily estimated at 90 mph, making it an EF-1 tornado, according to the weather service.
In New Orleans, about 50 structures saw some type of damage, but none that was significant, and no injuries were reported in the city, officials said.
System bringing rain to the East Coast
More than 17 million people are at marginal risk (a level 1 of 5) for severe weather stretching from Tampa, Florida, through southern Delaware, according to an alert issued by the storm center.
Widespread rainfall totals in the region Thursday are forecast to range between 1 and 2 inches, with some isolated pockets at risk of seeing between 2 and 4 inches.
Central Florida is under threat of excessive rainfall Thursday “due to round after round of storms producing heavy rainfall,” CNN Meteorologist Robert Shackelford said.
The system already brought record rainfall across parts of the South.
In Louisiana, Shreveport broke its 1871 daily record of 1.29 inches of rain when it saw 3.81 inches.
Multiple daily rainfall records were also broken in Alabama: Birmingham broke its 1908 rainfall record of 1.95 inches when it collected 2.32 inches; Tuscaloosa saw 3.56 inches, blowing past its previous record of 1.1 inches in 2012; Monticello received 2.87 inches, surpassing the record of 2.72 inches in 1968.
In Jackson, Mississippi, 1.69 inches of rain fell, breaking the 1953 record of 1.63 inches.
CNN’s Jason Hanna, Derek Van Dam, Robert Shackelford, Alisha Ebrahimji, Jamiel Lynch, Christina Maxouris, Kelly McCleary, Steve Almasy, Devon Sayers, Monica Garrett, Gregory Lemos and Tina Burnside contributed to this report.