February 13, 2007, Preliminary Storm Report
Updated February 15, 2007
Ground surveys of the tornado damage in the metro New Orleans area were conducted on Tuesday, February 13, 2007, shortly after the tornadoes struck the area. In addition, photos and aerial video from media sources were utilized to assist in evaluating the damage. Additional damage information is being collected and radar data is being analyzed. Below is a preliminary assessment of the tornadoes in metro New Orleans.
Westwego, Jefferson Parish – Between 2:55 and 3:03AM CST, a tornado moved along a northerly path from Lapalco Blvd to the Mississippi River, roughly following Avenue C and Avenue D. Significant damage was observed to residential and commercial structures that indicated an intensity in the mid to upper range of an EF-2 tornado on the Enhanced Fujita Scale. Expected winds were within the125-130 mph range. Some of the most impressive structural damage observed was to an older, two story motel building which had the roof removed and a portion of the second floor walls were caved in. 140 structures were affected or damaged by the tornado, with 66 classified as having major damage or destroyed. The path length was approximately 2.25 miles and damage width was around 50 yards. Nine injuries were reported.
New Orleans – Between 3:03 and 3:08AM, the tornado moved on a northerly course from the Mississippi River through portions of the Uptown and Carrollton areas with continuous damaged noted. The damage path became isolated as the tornado appeared to turn more northeast with damage to a warehouse that was noted in the Mid City area. Significant damage was observed to houses and commercial structures with roofs and portions of roofs removed from a number of houses. Some collapse of exterior walls was also noted. The tornado has been rated as an EF-2 tornado on Enhanced Fujita Scale. Expected wind range is between 125-130 mph. The total path length was approximately 4.5 miles and damage width around 50 yards.
Note – There was an apparent gap in damage from the Mid City to Pontchartrain Park areas exceeding 2 miles, which is the maximum distance for gaps in damage for a continuous tornado track. Therefore, the Pontchartrain Park tornado is being classified as a separate tornado at the current time.
Pontchartrain Park Area, New Orleans - 2 miles SW of Lakefront Airport. Between 3:10 and 3:12AM, a tornado touched down just south of the intersections of Franklin Ave and Prentiss St and moved east northeast across the southern portion of Pontchartrain Park to the Industrial Canal. The damage path was approximately 1.5 miles long and 50 yards wide. Roofs were blown off several homes and the upper portions of two story houses were partially collapsed. One fatality occurred in this region when a travel trailer was destroyed and the 86 year old occupant was fatally injured.
There were 25 injuries reported in New Orleans from both tornadoes. An assessment of building damage is currently being undertaken.
As additional information and data becomes available, this damage report will be updated.