Advertisement

At least 6 dead after tornadoes rip through Tennessee; rescuers seek survivors

At least six people have died and 23 are injured as twisters destroy homes, toss vehicles and snap power lines

By Monica Danielle, AccuWeather
Homes were destroyed by a tornado Saturday in Clarksville, Tenn., where at least three people were reported killed in the storms. Rescue operations in the Montgomery County city were ongoing on Sunday, officials said. Photo courtesy Clarksville Fire Rescue/Facebook
1 of 3 | Homes were destroyed by a tornado Saturday in Clarksville, Tenn., where at least three people were reported killed in the storms. Rescue operations in the Montgomery County city were ongoing on Sunday, officials said. Photo courtesy Clarksville Fire Rescue/Facebook

Dec. 10 (UPI) -- At least six people were killed and dozens injured on 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.

Advertisement

Nearly 50,000 people in Tennessee were left without power as of Sunday morning, according to outage tracking website, poweroutage.us.

The city of Clarksville, located in Montgomery County, where three of the fatalities were reported, remained in a "search and rescue phase" 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."

Advertisement

"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.

Clarksville resident Rex Stockton told WSMV-TV 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 the station, 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.

Advertisement

Nearly 50 miles away, another three people were confirmed dead in Madison, Tenn., a suburb of Nashville, emergency management officials said Saturday night.

"We have teams assessing damage and looking for patients," the Nashville Office of Emergency Management said in a statement on social media.

"Today a storm turned the world upside down for many in our community," said Freddie O'Connell, mayor of Nashville and Davidson County.

"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.

The tornado reports came as a severe weather outbreak swept through the eastern United States that affected tens of millions Saturday. A strengthening storm system will trigger more severe weather that could threaten lives and property on Sunday. AccuWeather meteorologists warn that these damaging storms are likely along much of the Atlantic Seaboard into Sunday night.

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.

Advertisement

"This community pulls together like no other and we will be here until the end," Mayor Golden added in his statement.

Latest Headlines