Tornadoes in Tennessee: Crews search for survivors after storms leave at least 6 dead



CNN

Crews are searching for survivors and surveying the damage after a tornado and severe thunderstorms ripped through Tennessee, overturning cars, tearing apart buildings and leaving at least six people dead.

At least three people are dead, including a child, after an apparent tornado struck the Clarksville area of ​​Montgomery County in northern Tennessee, officials said Saturday night.

Montgomery County was in a “search and rescue phase” on Saturday night after nearly two dozen people were treated for injuries at a hospital, officials said.

Footage obtained by CNN shows what appears to be a tornado moving down a road in Clarksville, throwing debris into the air and sparking power lines as it rips through the area.

After the storm, cars were left on their roofs as fallen trees and debris littered roads. Roofs and walls were blown away from multiple buildings, photos show.

“This is devastating news and our hearts are broken for the families of those who have lost loved ones,” Clarksville Mayor Joe Pitts said in a statement. “The city stands ready to help them in their time of grief.”

As Clarksville searched for survivors and possible additional victims, the mayor declared a state of emergency Saturday night and imposed a 9 p.m. curfew.

Rex Stockton told CNN affiliate WSMV that the roof of his Clarksville home was blown off by the storm. He went outside after the storm passed to check the damage and found his neighborhood devastated.

“There were whole houses that were just gone,” he said.

Stockton and his wife, a local nurse, began helping their neighbors along with other good Samaritans. They could hear cries for help among the debris, he said, and were able to help some people.

“She was able to do CPR, but she wasn’t alone,” Stockton told WSMV, calling the experience “traumatic” but noting that he and his wife were “happy.”

“There were medics. People just came from all over to help and they were able to do what they could,” he said.

About 50 miles away, three other people were confirmed dead in Madison, Tennessee, north of Nashville, emergency management officials said Saturday night.

“We have crews assessing the damage and looking for patients,” Nashville Office of Emergency Management said to Xthe social media platform formerly known as Twitter.

Images show extensive damage in the area where the death was reported, with heavy debris covering a car.

At least two tornadoes — each described as large and dangerous — were confirmed Saturday afternoon, including one in Montgomery County and another near the town of Rutherford in Gibson County, the National Weather Service said.

The tornado reports came after an outbreak of severe weather spanned more than 1,200 miles of the eastern United States from the Gulf Coast to the Canadian border on Saturday – with more bad weather expected on Sunday.

“Today’s storm turned the world upside down for many in our community,” said Freddie O’Connell, Mayor of Nashville and Davidson County.

The mayor declared a state of emergency in the area, saying first responders were still working late Saturday to reach hard-to-reach areas.

Nashville Office of Emergency Management

Storm damage on Nesbitt Lane in Madison, Tennessee on Saturday.

He urged residents to stay away from affected areas and call the Red Cross if they have been displaced.

“There is a long road of healing and recovery ahead for many of our neighbors,” O’Connell said.

“Significant tornado damage” was also reported in the Tennessee cities of Gallatin and Hendersonville, northeast of Nashville, according to a joint statement from the communities’ mayors.

“It is of the utmost importance that citizens stay off the roads and allow first responders and utility services to respond,” officials said.

As Tennessee deals with the aftermath, more storms will hit the eastern US on Sunday.

“Isolated severe thunderstorms will be possible through Sunday evening across parts of the southeastern states, mainly in the form of sporadic damaging winds and a few brief tornadoes,” the Weather Prediction Center said.

Storms will reach maximum strength by Sunday afternoon as they expand and engulf much of the East. Wind gusts from the storms will be much stronger Sunday compared to Saturday and could knock out power and disrupt travel.

Widespread gusts of 40 to 50 mph will hit the mid-Atlantic and Northeast. Gusts could increase to 60 mph at times Sunday evening in New England and coastal parts of New York and New Jersey.

Vincent Welshman

Storm damage in Clarksville, Tennessee on Saturday.

Widespread rain of 1 to 2 inches is likely from Florida to New England.

A few thunderstorms may become severe Sunday, with an area from the Florida Panhandle to Virginia most likely to sustain a few damaging storms. Damaging wind gusts will be the main threat with these storms, but an isolated tornado is also possible.

Parts of New England may transition to a wintry mix of rain, snow and sleet late Sunday night into Monday.

CNN meteorologist Mary Gilbert contributed to this report.

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