6 Dead as Nashville and Middle Tennessee Are Devastated by High Winds and Tornadoes
At least six people are dead and more than 150,000 are without power after tornadoes ripped through Middle Tennessee on Saturday. The severe weather left heavily damaged structures and homes, downed trees, and snapped power lines in its wake.
Tornadoes Cause Devastation in Middle Tennessee
Three fatalities were confirmed in Clarksville by the Montgomery County Mayor's Office Saturday evening. Three additional deaths were reported in Madison by the Nashville Office of Emergency Management. Montgomery County officials also said 23 people are being treated at hospitals for injuries.
The National Weather Service issued tornado warnings for multiple areas across Middle Tennessee on Saturday afternoon and evening, including Clarksville, parts of Nashville, Madison, Hendersonville, and Gallatin. NWS Nashville also issued a 'tornado emergency' alert for parts of Middle Tennessee for the first time in over a decade as the storms swept through, according to meteorologist Sam Shamburger.
"Maria and I are praying for all Tennesseans who have been impacted by the tornadoes that swept through the state this evening," Gov. Bill Lee said in a social media post just before 8:30 p.m. "We mourn the lives lost and ask that everyone continue to follow guidance from local and state officials."
Eyewitness Describes Damage in Madison
Lyanne Garay was at her mother’s home with her four children when they heard the tornado sirens blare in Madison. Next door, her mother’s neighbors screamed and abandoned their outside gathering as the wind yanked a tarp away. Garay’s husband was at work.
Less than five minutes away on Nesbitt Lane, what is believed to be a tornado ripped through her neighbors’ homes, tearing through roofs and leaving second-floor rooms exposed. When Garay returned home around 5 p.m., she found her fence toppled and part of her roof blown off, leaving water damage in her daughter’s upstairs bedroom.
"Compared to everybody, we’re fine, but it’s still a shock that we don’t have any place to go or anything to do and our house has been water damaged," she said.
Further down the street, the storm decimated homes and left branches and power lines strewn across the road. Officials confirmed three people died.
Mayors Express Condolences and Offer Aid
Montgomery County Mayor Wes Golden released a statement Saturday evening as news of the fatalities and scores of injuries spread.
"This is a sad day for our community," Golden 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."
Clarksville Mayor Joe Pitts also released a statement.
"This is devastating news and our hearts are broken for the families of those who lost loved ones," Pitts said. "The city stands ready to help them in their time of grief."
Thousands Are Without Power in Middle Tennessee
Just before 9 p.m., more than 150,000 customers across Middle Tennessee were without power, down from around 160,000 earlier in the evening, according to outage maps from Middle Tennessee Electric, Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation, Dickson Electric, and Nashville Electric Service.
Overnight lows will dip into the 30s across the region, with highs only reaching the 40s on Sunday, the latest NWS forecast shows.
Officials urge caution amid widespread damage and power outages. It is important for citizens to stay off the roads and allow first responders and utility crews to respond.