At least three confirmed tornadoes hit southern Louisiana Tuesday, causing major damage as a wave of severe thunderstorms swept through the region.
Danielle Manning, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said that one tornado touched down in the eastern part of New Orleans, while another touched down near the town of Donaldsonville and a third was reported in the town of Killian.
The large tornado in New Orleans touched down northeast of downtown along Interstate 10 and Chef Menteur Highway, Fox 8 reported.
Images from the area showed severely damaged buildings with downed power lines strewn across the road.
At least two people suffered serious injuries and about a dozen others suffered have minor injuries, Fox 8 reported.
Fire crews are going door-to-door in the neighborhood to check for people, while utility crews are on scene responding to a number of gas leaks.
Over 15,000 customers are without power in several areas of the city and surrounding area, according to Fox 8.
James Thomas, a resident of Eastern New Orleans, told the Associated Press his his whole neighborhood shows storm damage, but his house escaped the tornado.
“It’s bad. I’ve never seen it this bad,” he said. “As far as I can see, treetops are off, power lines down.”
Thomas said he saw the twister coming, grabbed his motorcycle helmet and ran into his bathroom. The room then went pitch-black, he heard hail on the window, and came outside afterward to see a damage trail or about 20 to 40 feet from his house.
Tornado watches covered large parts of Louisiana and Mississippi and the line of severe storms prompted multiple tornado warnings.
Officials say at least seven homes have been damaged in Livingston Parish, Louisiana, located northwest of New Orleans, according to Deputy Emergency Management Director Brandi Janes.
“Two of them are completely gone… all the way to the ground,” she told the AP.
Janes said she knows of two injuries in the parish, both minor, but didn’t immediately have any information on whether the homes that were destroyed were occupied when the storm struck.
The tornadoes are part of storm system moving across the Deep South that lit up radar monitors and prompting multiple tornado warnings from Louisiana to Alabama as the system brought hail, high winds and twisters to the New Orleans area.
One of the warnings described a “large, extremely dangerous and potentially deadly” twister south of Hammond, Louisiana.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters President Trump plans to contact officials in the hardest-hit areas.
The national Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma, said 2.7 million people in parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama would be at the highest risk of severe weather on Tuesday. In Louisiana, tornado watches covered New Orleans and Baton Rouge.
In Mississippi, a tornado watch covered the southern half of the state. In Alabama, the city of Mobile was in the storm’s path.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.