The tornado that struck Jefferson, St. Bernard and Orleans parishes Tuesday is believed to have been at EF-3 strength with peak winds of 160 miles per hour, the National Weather Service said Thursday, making it the strongest in New Orleans history.
The NWS described it as a "very narrow, intense tornado with two areas of concentrated EF-3 damage" in Arabi.
One was a house that was swept off its raised foundation with all walls and the roof destroyed. This was near where the one fatality occurred. Due to poor construction, this was EF3. The highest EF3 rating was given to a house that was constructed in the last 6 months. While this house was raised on cinder blocks, every tower of blocks had strapping to the house. The house had additional strapping directly into the foundation, as well as strapping from the cinder blocks to the foundation. The house itself held together but was shifted about 50 yards to the north and rotated about 90 degrees. The house next door was also swept off the foundation, moved and mostly destroyed. This also had some evidence of strapping to the slab foundation. This area is what will justify the 160 mph EF3 rating.
Tuesday's tornado is blamed for one death and at least two injuries.
The previous tornado that held the record struck New Orleans East in 2017 with winds of 150 miles per hour.