Governor John Bel Edwards has declared a state of emergency in Louisiana on Tuesday (7 January) after tornadoes tore through the southern part of the state, including part of New Orleans. At least three twisters hit the state, with one in eastern New Orleans touching ground around 11:33am local time.
Videos from the scenes show heavy winds and rains pummelling districts, and bright flashes as the tornadoes hit power lines. Around 10,000 homes are thought to be without power, CBS reports, and there are fears of gas leaks.
A video taken by a drone and posted on Facebook by Killian Police Department Assistant Chief John Goins shows the destructive path a tornado took through Livingston Parish, with trees felled and homes demolished.
Storms along the deep south of America put millions in Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi at risk, warnings said. In east New Orleans, power lines were ripped from the ground and trucks overturned.
No-one is yet known to have died from the storms though several are injured. Emergency services are reportedly going door to door to make sure people are not trapped in collapsed buildings.
Fox News reported that seven tornadoes in all touched down in the southern state and at least 20 people have been injured.
"I am heartbroken to once again see Louisiana families suffering in the wake of devastating tornadoes today," said Governor Edwards. "We are working tirelessly to ensure that every citizen affected by this storm receives the resources they need as quickly as possible."
A Nasa facility in Michoud was also hit by the storms but the agency reported "only minor injuries". "There is still a threat of severe weather in the area and emergency officials are continuing to monitor the situation to ensure the safety of onsite personnel," Nasa added.