April 27, 2015 / 7:10 PM / 2 years ago

Storm knocks out power to New Orleans airport for hours

NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - A line of storms moving through Louisiana on Monday knocked out power to the New Orleans International Airport, sent freight train cars tumbling from an elevated bridge and left nearly 238,000 customers without electricity.

There were no immediate reports of injuries from the storms, but the power outages, together with flood damage, prompted Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal to declare a state of emergency.

In New Orleans, the storms left the criminal courthouse without power, downed trees and power lines and caused several area schools, including the University of New Orleans, to cancel classes.

Video shown on local television showed several freight train cars on an elevated track of the Huey P. Long Bridge on the outskirts of New Orleans being blown by heavy winds before tumbling dozens of feet to the ground. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

At the airport, electricity was off in the main terminal for much of the day and the airfield operated on emergency power, before electricity was fully restored in the evening, an airport spokeswoman said.

Images posted online from inside the terminal showed long lines of travelers waiting for flights. The airport reported delays to departing and arriving flights into the evening.

As of late Monday afternoon, nearly 238,000 Louisiana customers were without power, according to the governor's office. Entergy Corp, the biggest power company in the state, said it was working to restore power as quickly as possible, with crews set to work overnight.

The storms, with winds up to 70 miles per hour (113 kph), moved quickly toward the east across the southern third of Louisiana before heading out to the Gulf of Mexico, National Weather Service meteorologist Frank Revitte said.

(This version of the story has additional information about power being restored to airport, declaration of state of emergency and the latest outage figures)

Reporting by Jonathan Kaminsky; Editing by Sandra Maler and Mohammad Zargham

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