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New Orleans Tornado Watch Lifted As Storms Sweep Through The South

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NWS New Orleans

The National Weather Service canceled its tornado watch for New Orleans shortly before 10 p.m. as the severe weather threat cleared the area. 

A tornado watch remains in place for Plaquemines Parish and St. Bernard Parish until 11 p.m.

About 160 New Orleans Entergy customers are currently experiencing power outages according to the utility company's outage map.
 
9:15 p.m. 

The National Weather Service has issued a tornado watch for the New Orleans area. 

Severe storms are sweeping across the South on Wednesday. Kevin Gilmore with the National Weather Service New Orleans office said in a 2:15 p.m. Facebook Live broadcast that areas far northwest of New Orleans metro area are looking at a chance for “really violent tornadoes.”

The NWS expects the severe weather, including hail, strong wind and heavy rain to reach the New Orleans area around 6 p.m. The region's tornado watch originally in effect until 9 p.m. has been extended until 11 p.m. 

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Credit NWS New Orleans

Gilmore stressed the need to be weather-aware and encouraged people to turn on extreme weather alerts on their cell phones. 

He said while the high pitched tone can be “annoying,” it’s supposed to be and that you shouldn’t ignore the notifications, as they can be life saving.

While Gimore said it's important to watch weather maps and trends, he also said predictions are not exact.

“Don’t get caught up on exact fine lines. It’s not like a state boundary,” he said.

Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans Executive Director Ghassan Korban told the utility's board of directors today that the power supply for New Orleans' drainage system is 'in a fragile state.'

"We have minimal – if at all – backup to what we have currently in the minimal arsenal to combat drainage in heavy events. It’s very, very minimal," Korban said. "It’s not a panic situation, but it’s a concerning and alarming situation to be just as blunt as I can be.”

Korban said turbines 1 and 6 are available for use, leaving the city with little backup power to operate the drainage system. Ninety-six of the city’s 99 drainage pumps are available for service. One electromotive diesel generator is out of service for repairs.

The city plans to have two additional turbines back online before the start of hurricane season. Over the next two years, Korban said a dedicated Entergy substation will be located at the Carrollton Water Plant along with a new turbine.

Remember: the safest place in your house, if you don't have a basement, is near the middle of the house away from windows. If you're in a mobile home, you may need to leave your home. 

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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