At least 2 killed when tornado smashes into Nashville
At least two people were killed when a tornado struck parts of Nashville and eastern communities early Tuesday, triggering warning sirens and damaging dozens of structures, according to officials and reports. Injuries were also reported.
The tornado, which was spotted about 12:30 a.m., killed two people in east Nashville, Metro Nashville police tweeted.
Nashville’s fire department tweeted that it was responding to reports of 40 structure collapses around Nashville. Police said that there were multiple buildings with damage, primarily in the downtown and east precincts.
“Emergency responders are working to ensure persons can get out and secure the areas,” police said.
The tornado was spotted northwest of downtown Nashville and took aim at parts of the city, National Weather Service meteorologist Faith Borden said. Mount Juliet and Lebanon also appeared hard hit, she said, but the weather service has not yet completed a damage assessment.
Police in Mount Juliet, east of Nashville, reported that the town of around 30,000 was “impacted significantly” with multiple homes damaged and multiple injuries.
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“We have requested mutual aid from allied agencies. We continue to search for injured. Stay home if you can. Watch for downed power lines,” the police department tweeted.
The sheriff’s office in Wilson County, which is home to Mount Juliet and Lebanon, reported “extensive damage to many homes” and road hazards.
Local CBS affiliate News Channel 5 posted photos of downed power lines and damaged buildings in east Nashville. The station reported severe damage in parts of the city, including in Germantown.
Council member Brett Withers tweeted that the Five Points neighborhood took a direct hit.
Video posted to Twitter showed what appeared to be extensive damage to an apartment complex.
Main Street in east Nashville was closed at 1:30 a.m. and covered in half-fallen trees and other debris, The Tennessean newspaper of Nashville reported. Part of a building had also collapsed onto the road, the newspaper reported. Photos showed what appeared to be heavy damage to some buildings and vehicles.
It was “a devastating night in Nashville,” U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper tweeted, adding that he would work with the mayor’s office on a request for federal assistance.
“Nashville is hurting, and our community has been devastated,” Mayor John Cooper wrote on Twitter, encouraging the city’s residents to “lend a helping hand” to their neighbors in the wake of the disaster.
Nashville is hurting, and our community has been devastated. My heart goes out to those who have lost loved ones. Be sure to lend a helping hand to a neighbor in need, and let’s come together as a community once more. Together, we will get through this and come out stronger.
The district said all polling sites at schools would be open unless otherwise noted. Tennessee is one of 14 states voting on Super Tuesday.
Nashville’s emergency operations center was partially activated to respond to the severe weather.
The National Weather Service had said Monday afternoon that parts of Tennessee had an elevated risk of severe thunderstorms. Tornado watches covered parts of middle Tennessee early Tuesday.
Tornado warnings had been in place for the communities of Cookeville, Monterey and Baxter early Tuesday, according to the weather service.
The weather service said that as of 2:50 a.m. there were no longer tornado warnings in middle Tennessee, but warned that storms in the area had lightning and heavy rain and that 40-50 mph winds were possible. “Storms could quickly become severe, so stay alert!” the weather service tweeted.