UPDATE: NWS confirms tornado touched down in 7th Ward

Mayor assesses damage

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The National Weather Service Storm Survey confirms at EF0 tornado touched down in the Seventh Ward on Thursday at 3:30 p.m.

The NWS said the 80 mph tornado damaged a half-mile area beginning at Marias and Annette streets and ending at N. Claiborne Avenue and St. Phillip Street.

The violent weather pounded the area with torrential rain on both sides of the lake.

NOFD responded to reports of five houses with structural damage, including three collapses: St. Phillip St. at N. Claiborne Ave., Claiborne Ave. at Ursulines Ave., 1326  Kerlerec St., N. Villere St. at Ursulines Ave. and N. Claiborne Ave. and Dumaine St. Two men sitting on the porch of the home at Claiborne and Ursulines were injured and transported to the hospital by EMS. The injuries did not appear to be life-threatening.

Firefighters were working several calls of trees and power lines down in various areas of the city. Firefighters found two poles snapped at the intersection of Annette and Henriette Delille streets.

The Department of Code Enforcement was on site inspecting structural damage, and the city said Sewerage and Water Board systems were operating at capacity. The city is working to clear and open North Claiborne Ave. St. Phillip St. at North Claiborne Ave. will likely remain closed until Friday while debris is cleared.

Entergy crews are working to remove downed power lines, poles and debris across the city. Approximately 1,000 homes remain without power at 8:30 p.m. in the Treme area with sporadic outages in other areas of the city.

As a home was leveled in the 1300 block of Kerlerec, Jim Ferrall was watching on the opposite side of N. Claiborne.

"The wind kicked up to about 60 or 70 miles per hour. When I looked up, I could see spinning debris and shingles," Ferrall said. "The second I yelled tornado, it tore that building up. It collapsed it like a piece of tin foil."

The weather forced Ferrall into a nearby funeral home, where he warned others about what was happening outside.

"I've never seen a building being ripped apart right in front of me," he said.

More witnesses started to converge on the area as soon as the weather let up.

Images of what appeared to be a funnel cloud started to pour in on social media. It appeared over the city's tallest buildings in the Central Business District. No other injuries were reported.

But the sight was scary for residents.

"Oh my God. I'm freaking out. Is that a tornado funnel? What do I do? Should I get out of my apartment right now? Oh my God. I'm freaking out. I really don't know what to do right now guys," said Christina Marisol in a video posted to Facebook.

Marisol caught the dramatic video from her apartment in the 900 block of Gravier St. She said she was frightened, but safe.

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