By Gina Cherelus
(Reuters) - A tornado tore through New Orleans and surrounding parts of Louisiana on Tuesday, injuring at least 11 people and causing severe damage to homes and businesses, the National Weather Service and local media said.
The storm hit New Orleans at about 2 p.m. EST, according to the weather service's website. It said numerous buildings and homes were reported destroyed in the city and in suburban areas of Baton Rouge.
At least 11 people were hurt in the twister, the Times-Picayune newspaper said.
Photos and videos on social media showed the storm roaring across highways and streets, tearing down trees, power lines and homes.
Nearly 50,000 customers were without power in Louisiana, with more than 10,000 of them located in New Orleans, according to Entergy New Orleans spokeswoman Kacee Kirschvink.
The National Weather Service cautioned residents to remain sheltered to avoid flying debris and tornado-damaged areas.
"Keep the roads clear for emergency responders. Lots of downed power lines and debris," the weather service's New Orleans officer said in a posting on Twitter.
(Reporting by Gina Cherelus in New York)