Death Toll Rises in Tennessee After 5 Overnight Tornadoes in 3 States

Five twisters were reported in three states – Tennessee, Kentucky, and Missouri – and as the sun rose, the death toll continues to climb in Tennessee after a tornado left a path of destruction flattening homes and businesses in both middle Tennessee and southern Kentucky.

The area of East Nashville and the suburb of Mount Juliet were both hit particularly hard.

The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) declared a Level-3 State of Emergency and has activated the Tennessee Emergency Management Plan (TEMP).

At least 9 dead, the death toll may rise

As daylight broke, the death toll first reported across the affected areas began to rise. As of this writing, at least nineteen people have been confirmed dead.

The first two deaths were reported in East Nashville, another 4 reported in Putnam County, 1 in Benton County, and the latest 2 confirmed in Wilson County.

At least 156 people have been treated at area hospitals, but that number is expected to rise.

Tornado leaves a path of destruction in middle Tennessee and in southern Kentucky

Two tornadoes touched down in middle Tennessee early Tuesday morning. The tornado reportedly stayed on the ground for some 10-16 miles, the distance between downtown Nashville and the Hermitage community.

In nearby Mount Juliet, about 20 miles from downtown Nashville, first responders are dealing with down power lines and gas leaks, as well as trying to get to the injured and provide them with the medical assistance they need.

Downtown Nashville devastated

Some of the areas hardest hit by the tornado in Nashville were Centennial Boulevard and Briley Parkway, which is near the airport and caused heavy damage to planes. Tractor-trailers were overturned across the interstates.

The Five Points area of Nashville was particularly devastated, with at least half of the area destroyed, as the storm took down electric lines, removing roofs, while broken water lines gushed from damaged buildings.

Homes and business owners were also flattened in East Nashville and Germantown.

We ducked around this cell and landed at john tune airport around 11:30 last night. Glad we landed when we did. Wouldn’t have been good an hour later. It was the cell that turned into the tornado. Lot of people lost their homes. No one comes together as a city like Nashville does pic.twitter.com/qvCjrYNu0x

— Dierks Bentley (@DierksBentley) March 3, 2020

John Tune airport, the sister airport of Nashville’s main BNA airport reported suffering heavy damage.

The Nashville fire department reported responding to at least 40 structure collapses around the city.

At daybreak, around 74,000 homes and businesses in middle Tennessee were without electricity.

All Metropolitan Nashville schools will be closed on Tuesday.

This is 5 points area in East Nashville @NC5 pic.twitter.com/KkWFzljf0j

— Alexandra Koehn (@NC5_AKoehn) March 3, 2020

Two shelters in operation

Nashville Mayor John Cooper announced that two shelters have been set up and are now operating.

One is on the east side at East Magnet High School, and the other is on the west side at the Centennial Sportsplex.

Federal emergency funds sought

Representative Jim Cooper (D-TN) said he is working with the mayor’s office to reach out for federal assistance.

Cooper wrote in a tweet: “What a devastating night in Nashville. I am praying for the victims and am thankful for our first responders. Check on your friends, family, and neighbors. We are working with the Mayor’s office on a request for federal assistance.”

Donations and volunteers needed

The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee (CFMT) has activated the Middle Tennessee Emergency Response Fund to support affected communities and nonprofits to help nonprofits providing assistance to victims of the tornadoes.

But the disaster is going to hit families and businesses hard whose homes and livelihood have been devastated by the twisters.

Really incredible image out of #Nashville. The tornado went right through this building but left the ‘I Believe in Nashville’ mural unscathed. pic.twitter.com/cd2N9lLEYq

— NewEnglandCountry 🎶 (@NECntryMusic) March 3, 2020

Nashville Mayor John Cooper said his office has already been flooded with thousands of posts and emails from people wanting to donate to charities or volunteer.

Cooper offered three organizations who he said are worthy community partners.

Donation recommendations:

Volunteering: Hands on Nashville is working with community partners for cleanup efforts and can sign up at the Hands on Nashville website.

Monetary donations: Cooper is recommending those that want to donate to charities financially, to use the Community Foundation‘s website.

Donating goods: Cooper added that for physical donations, the community resource center is available for donations except for clothing.