OAN’s Abril Elfi
11:22 AM – Tuesday, October 24, 2023
“Superfog” smoke from marsh fires in south Louisiana reportedly caused a major highway collision that resulted in at least seven fatalities and 25 additional injuries.
Louisiana state police said that clean up crews worked into Tuesday morning in order to clear the wreckage of more than 150 vehicles involved in a series of incidents on Interstate-55 near New Orleans on Monday that was caused by a “superfog” of marsh fire smoke and dense fog.
Meteorologists had previously stated that “superfog” had strongly damaged the area just west of New Orleans at the time of the pileups.
According to the National Weather Service, superfog is a thick fog that forms under wet, smoky conditions and can reduce visibility to less than 10 feet.
Officials stated that some of the cars even caught on fire following the initial collision.
One of the vehicles involved in the collisions was a tanker truck transporting “hazardous liquid.” Police stated that they were working on Monday evening to transfer the truck since it had a “compromised tank/trailer.”
“Once the tanker is removed, first responders will be able to better assess the vehicles in that immediate area. It is possible that additional fatalities could be located,” police added.
According to St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff Mike Tregre, three 18-wheel trucks crashed in the northbound lanes and were completely engulfed in flames and there were two reported multi-car pileups in the southbound lanes, one of which was also igniting flames.
Tregre stated that all first responders had to walk since the wrecks had rendered the region “completely gridlocked.”
The city of New Orleans announced in a statement on Monday that it is now monitoring an active fire burning underground in forested wetlands between the Bayou Sauvage National Urban Wildlife Refuge and the Michoud Canal.
According to the city, the lack of rain, along with the high heat temperatures of the summer, dried out wetlands and reduced the level of the water table. The monitored blaze has been burning at and below surface level, according to the report.
A repeat of Monday’s superfog is unlikely for Tuesday morning since “winds should be much stronger,” according to the National Weather Service in New Orleans on X (Twitter).
Winds must be quiet or extremely light for dense fog to form.
Governor John Bel Edwards (D-La.) announced that he was sending condolences and praying for those killed and wounded in the incident.
“The combination of wildfire smoke and dense fog is dangerous, and I want to encourage all Louisianans in affected areas to take extreme caution while traveling,” Edwards said in a statement.
Authorities are now urging the public to contact them if they have any information regarding a missing family member who was traveling through the area on Monday morning.
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