At least 6 dead after tornadoes rip through Tennessee, rescue crews searching for survivors
At least six people have died and 62 are injured, officials said. Homes were destroyed, vehicles tossed and trees and power lines were strewn across roads.
Tornadoes caused at least six deaths and widespread damage in Tennessee on Dec. 9. Rescue crews worked through the night in search of survivors.
At least six people died Saturday after tornadoes tore through parts of Tennessee, officials said.
As the sun rose across the state early Sunday morning, residents - and crews who spent a tough night digging through wreckage in search of survivors - were getting their first look at the destruction in daylight. Homes were destroyed, vehicles tossed and trees and power lines were strewn across roads.
Nearly 50,000 people in Tennessee were left without power as of Sunday morning, according to outage tracking website, poweroutage.us. By early Monday morning, this number had fallen to just under 20,000.
The city of Clarksville, located in Montgomery County, where three of the fatalities were reported, underwent a “search and rescue phase” Saturday evening after nearly two dozen people were treated for injuries at a hospital, officials reported.
“This is a sad day for our community," Montgomery County Mayor Wes Golden said in a statement. “We are praying for those who are injured, lost loved ones, and lost their homes."
“This is devastating news and our hearts are broken for the families of those who lost loved ones,” Clarksville Mayor Joe Pitts added. “The city stands ready to help them in their time of grief.”
As search and rescue crews in Clarksville looked for survivors and possibly additional victims, the mayor declared a state of emergency Saturday night and enacted a 9 p.m. curfew.
'Whole houses that are just gone'
Clarksville resident Rex Stockton told local news affiliate WSMV that the roof of his home was blown off in the storm. After the storm passed, he went outside to inspect the damage and saw his neighborhood had been devastated.
“There were whole houses that are just gone,” he said.
Stockton and his wife, a local nurse, began helping their neighbors alongside other Good Samaritans. They could hear cries for help in the debris, he told WSMV, and managed to help some people.
“She was able to do some CPR, but she was not alone,” Stockton said, calling the experience “traumatic” but noting he and his wife were “fortunate.”
“There were medics. People were just coming from everywhere to help and they were able to do what they could,” he added.
Nearly 50 miles away, another three people were confirmed dead in Madison, Tennessee, a suburb of Nashville, emergency management officials said Saturday night.
“Today a storm turned the world upside down for many in our community,” said Freddie O’Connell, mayor of Nashville and Davidson County. O'Connell declared a state of emergency, allowing Metro Nashville Davidson County to obtain state and federal resources.
In a statement posted to X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, the Nashville Office of Emergency Management said that the city of Madison appeared to be the hardest hit. A church building with occupants reportedly collapsed and thirteen people were taken to nearby hospitals. The Nashville Fire Department continues to search structures looking for survivors who may be trapped in damaged buildings.
“Significant damage” from a tornado was also reported in the Tennessee cities of Gallatin and Hendersonville, northeast of Nashville, according to a joint statement from the communities’ mayors.
Images of damage in Hendersonville, Tennessee, about an hour southwest of Clarksville, shot by storm tracker, Brett Adair, showed shredded buildings, tossed cars and downed trees and debris littering roads.
The tornado reports came as a severe weather outbreak swept through the eastern United States that affected tens of millions of people on Saturday. A strengthening storm system triggered more severe weather that threatened lives and property on Sunday.
Officials in areas already ravaged by severe weather are urging people to stay off the roads as emergency services respond to the situation.
“We are still in the search and rescue phase of this disaster,” Montgomery County said in its Facebook statement. The statement added that a local school and church were set up to shelter those displaced or in need of assistance.
"This community pulls together like no other and we will be here until the end,” Mayor Golden added in his statement.
Later Sunday morning, Clarksville officials announced that the number of people injured from the destructive storms had climbed to 62.Report a Typo
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