More than 20 people dead after tornadoes strike Nashville, Middle Tennessee

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Multiple people are dead after Middle Tennessee was hit by tornado overnight Monday into Tuesday morning.

WREG affiliate WKRN reported Tuesday afternoon that 22 people were confirmed dead. Gov. Bill Lee said later Tuesday that 25 people were confirmed dead. Officials later clarified to WREG’s Luke Jones that one death was not storm-related, so the total remains at 24.

The National Weather Service reported a tornado was located near Nashville at 12:38 a.m. CST, moving east about 45 mph, the agency said.

The National Weather Service in Nashville said shortly before noon Tuesday that Mount Juliet in Wilson County at least EF-3 damage (155-160 mph). Donelson, in Davidson County, saw at least EF-3 damage (160-165 mph). This might be damage from the same tornado, the agency said.

NWS-Nashville is continuing to survey damage.

TEMA said 16 people were killed in Putnam County, about 100 miles east of Nashville.

Another person was killed in Benton County when a mobile home was picked up by the storm and thrown into a field, WKRN told WREG.

Two deaths were reported in East Nashville, a tweet from the Metro Nashville Police Department said. TEMA said two were dead in Wilson County.

During a speech at the National Association of Counties Summit, President Donald Trump confirmed he will be visiting Tennessee on Friday following the tornado.

“We are working with the leaders in Tennessee, including their great Governor Bill Lee, to make sure that everything is done properly. FEMA is already on the ground and I’ll be going there on Friday,” he said.

Officers who specialize in urban search and rescue are being called in, MNPD said. Rescuers are focusing their efforts in Germantown, East Nashville and Hermitage, according to Joseph Pleasant, spokesman with the Nashville Office of Emergency Management.

Nashville Mayor John Cooper told WTVF there are about 20 people in the hospital following the tornado.

“There are a couple of tragic cases, in one case a tree falling on a car and there are also I believe about 20 people in the hospital, so we need to monitor that very carefully,” Cooper said. “We all worry about some people being left in some buildings that have been damaged and I know the first responders are working their way through that problem.”

The Nashville Fire Department is responding to reports of about 40 structure collapses around the city, many in the downtown corridor.

Nashville Office of Emergency Center has partially activated to respond to the damage from severe weather, according to a tweet from the center. They’ve opened an emergency shelter at the Farmers Market on Rosa L. Parks Blvd. The Red Cross has been notified and is responding to help displaced residents, the EOC said.

At least 50,100 power outages have been reported statewide, according to poweroutage.us, with more than47,000 reported by Nashville Electric Service. Damage was reported at four substations, 15 primary distribution lines, and multiple power pole lines, a tweet from NES said.

Metro Nashville Public Schools are closed due to tornado damage throughout the city, a notice from the district said.

Tennessee State University also reported damage to their campus, but said so far there are no reports of any injuries. Students are currently on spring break.

Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett tweeted that officials are working to make sure polling locations in Davidson and Wilson counties are open for Super Tuesday voting.

John C. Tune Airport in West Nashville also “sustained significant damage,” according to a tweet from Nashville International Airport, which did not suffer any apparent damage.
The Airport Authority has activated the Emergency Operations Center, and the public has been advised to stay away from the airport until further notice, the tweet said.

At least two blocks of multi-story buildings are shown with their windows blown out in the Germantown area of downtown Nashville, images from WTVF show.

Scraps of wood and metal lined the street as people stood outside in their pajamas with their pets surveying the damage.

A resident of the area impacted by the tornado, who didn’t give her name, told WTVF she was woken up by the tornado as it tore the roof off part of her building.

“It just woke you out of your sleep,” she said. “I’m lucky my side didn’t get torn off. The other side is totally torn off.”

“When you’re inside it’s one thing, but to walk outside and see this it’s bad,” the woman told the affiliate.

The storm has since cleared the Nashville area and the tornado warning has expired, but tornado warnings were issued by the National Weather Service throughout Tennessee until 6 a.m. CST Tuesday. Heavy rains will continue in Nashville this morning with the potential for flooding as another strong line of storms moves through the metro area.

Investigators with the National Weather Service will survey the damage and confirm the tornado’s intensity later today.

Police in Mt. Juliet, a suburb 20 miles east of Nashville, are searching for injured people.”There are multiple homes damaged and multiple injuries. We have requested mutual aid from allied agencies. We continue to search for injured,” a tweet from the department said.

A shelter has been opened for those displaced by the tornado at the Victory Baptist Church on Tate Lane in Mt. Juliet, according to a tweet.

In Putnam County, there are “several critically injured” people, county Mayor Randy Porter told CNN in a Facebook message. The county suffered damage to several homes and power lines, he said.

In a Facebook post, Putnam County Sheriff’s Department confirmed a tornado touched down between the city limits of Cookeville and Baxter.

The Putnam County Sheriff Department says some of the worst hit areas are in Charleton Square, Plunk Whitson, Echo Valley, Prosperity Point.

Several injuries have been reported in the city of Cookeville, Mayor Ricky Shelton said.

The Cookeville Community Center has been opened as an emergency shelter, Porter said in a Facebook post.

Schools in Wilson County will be closed for the rest of the week due to storm damage, a tweet from the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office said.

The Salvation Army is coordinating disaster response efforts. To donate, go to https://give.helpsalvationarmy.org/give/166081/#!/donation/checkout

This is a breaking story and is still developing.

If you would like to help those impacted by the storms, click here.

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