A series of tornadoes and severe storms swept across Tennessee on Saturday, killing at least six people and injuring dozens more. The twisters also left behind a trail of devastation, affecting several counties and cities in the state.
Nashville Hit by Deadly Tornado
Three of the fatalities occurred in Nashville, the state’s capital and largest city, according to the city’s Office of Emergency Management. No further details were provided about the victims or the extent of the damage.
Clarksville and Montgomery County Suffer Three More Deaths
In Montgomery County, where Clarksville is located, officials confirmed three more deaths in an update posted shortly after 8 p.m. EST. The deceased were two adults and one child.
Montgomery County Mayor Wes Golden expressed his sorrow and solidarity with the community. “This is a sad day for our community,” he said. “We are praying for those who are injured, lost loved ones, and lost their homes. This community pulls together like no other and we will be here until the end.”
At least 23 people were treated at a hospital for injuries sustained during the storm.
Clarksville police reported extensive damage from a tornado that touched down around 1:30 p.m. EST. Residents were urged to stay home and off the roads while emergency personnel were working. A power outage prevented the opening of an elementary school as a shelter. About 21,000 homes and businesses were without electricity as of 5:30 p.m. EST, according to PowerOutage.us.
Clarksville is the largest city near the U.S. Army’s Fort Campbell, home of the 101st Airborne Division. No damage was reported to the military facilities. The city has a population of about 175,000 people and is situated in Montgomery County, about 40 miles northwest of Nashville.
The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post that first responders and emergency services were assessing the damage and the safety of the residents. “Due to potential dangers from the weather, downed power lines, and debris, we (ask) that the community shelter in place and stay off the roadway,” the post read.
Other Counties and Cities Also Affected
The tornadoes and storms also caused damage in several other locations across the state, as well as in neighboring Kentucky.
The sheriff’s office in Dickson County, Tennessee, about 30 miles west of Nashville, said there was damage in several areas in the northern part of the county. “We have trees down, lines down, and roads blocked,” the agency said in a social media post at about 5:45 p.m. EST. “Please stay home and off the roads while emergency personnel are out working.”
A dispatcher there told weather.com in a phone call around 6:20 p.m. EST that there was “a lot” of damage and the call center was extremely busy. A later update said there were a few minor injuries but no fatalities reported.
Downed trees and power lines, as well as some damage to homes, were also reported across the state line in Todd County, Kentucky.
Earlier, a tornado hit Weakley County, Tennessee, about 110 miles northwest of Nashville. Ray Wiggington, emergency management director for Weakley County, told weather.com in a phone call around 2:15 p.m. EST that they had “several injuries” at that time.
Weakley County includes the towns of Sharon and Dresden. An update posted later on social media said two homes had major damage, two people were transported to a local hospital and the local National Guard armory as well as a factory that builds manufactured homes were hit.
The same tornado also caused damage about 25 miles to the southwest in Gibson County, which includes the towns of Rutherford and Trenton. A 911 dispatcher there told weather.com in a phone call around 1:30 p.m. EST that they had “quite a bit of damage” in the north part of the county. There were no immediate reports of injuries.
Photos shared to social media showed downed trees and power lines and at least one building, possibly a fire station, damaged.
The National Weather Service issued a warning of a “large and extremely dangerous tornado” shortly before 11 a.m. EST near Sharon, based on radar showing a debris signature.
According to a local utility provider, about 4,500 customers in north Gibson County and the adjacent Obion and Dyer counties lost power due to the storms.
The storms are part of a nationwide system that is forecasted to unleash severe thunderstorms, high wind and tornadoes across the South over the weekend. You can find the complete forecast here.
The system first triggered storms in Oklahoma and Arkansas on Friday night, but they caused minimal wind damage.