Six people have been killed, and 23 others hospitalized as severe storms tore through central Tennessee Saturday.
“At this time we can confirm that three people are deceased, two adults and one child as a result of the tornado that touched down this afternoon. Additionally, 23 people have been treated at the hospital,” said a Clarksville, Montgomery County news release. “We are still in the search and rescue phase of this disaster.” The county is situated north of Nashville near the Kentucky state line.
The Nashville Emergency Operation Center said in a post on a social media account that three people were killed by severe storms in a neighborhood just north of downtown. Meanwhile, another 23 people were treated for injuries at hospitals in Montgomery County.
Montgomery Mayor Wes Golden said: “This is a sad day for our community. 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.”
Photos posted by the Clarksville fire department on social media showed damaged houses with debris strewn in the lawns, a tractor trailer flipped on its side on a highway and insulation ripped out of building walls.
City of Clarksville Mayor Joe Pitts said: “This is devastating news and our hearts are broken for the families of those who lost loved ones. The City stands ready to help them in their time of grief.”
The county press release added that Northeast High School located at 3701 Trenton Road has been set-up as a Red Cross Shelter for people displaced in the disaster or in need of assistance.
Authorities wanted everyone to avoid the area and stay off the roadway as congested roadways restrict the movement of emergency vehicles.
The Metropolitan Nashville Police Department identified the victims killed north of downtown as Joseph Dalton, 37; Floridema Gabriel Perez, 31, and her son, Anthony Elmer Mendez, 2. Dalton was inside his mobile home when the storm tossed it on top of Perez’s residence. Two other children, one in each home, were taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries, the department said in a statement.
No further information about the other three deaths was immediately available Saturday night.
“At approximately 2:00 p.m. a tornado touched down in the area of Hand Estates, a neighborhood in the vicinity of Garrettsburg Rd,” said a social media post from the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office. A shelter was set up at a local high school.
“Law enforcement and emergency personnel responded to the area and confirmed damage to several homes. A preliminary search was conducted to locate residents and ensure safety. At this time we do not have any confirmed casualties or missing persons but are continuing to assess the area. Emergency personnel are following up with another, more thorough search.” the sheriff’s office said.
Authorities warned that access to the area was restricted, and requested citizens who are displaced to seek temporary shelter at the Mosaic Church.
Stay Back in Homes
Residents were asked to stay at home while first responders evaluated the situation. In a briefing shared on social media, Mr. Pitts said there was extensive damage in the city of nearly 180,000 people.
“So please, if you need help, call 911 and help will be on the way immediately. But if you can, please stay home. Do not get out on the roads. Our first responders need time and space,” he said.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said in a statement on X: “Maria & I are praying for all Tennesseans who have been impacted by the tornadoes that swept through the state this evening. We mourn the lives lost & ask that everyone continue to follow guidance from local & state officials.”
According to PowerOutage.us, 46,448 people were without power in Tennessee as of 7:15 a.m., CST, on Dec. 10.
Allie Phillips, who lives in Clarksville, said she was grabbing lunch when she began receiving notifications that a tornado was quickly approaching her neighborhood.
“It was excruciating watching the live stream and not knowing if my house was still there,” she said. “When we finally decided to leave, the road to my home was shut down because so many power lines were on the road and we had to take a detour.”
Ms. Phillips said her home survived with minimal damage—noting that her daughter’s toys were banged up and that a neighbor’s dog kennel hit the back of her home—but she was saddened to see that her neighbor’s house was missing a roof and a home up the block had all but completely disappeared.
The National Weather Service (NWS) issued multiple tornado warnings in Tennessee and said it planned to survey an area where an apparent tornado hit in Kentucky.
“Isolated/spotty flash flood potential exists with fast-moving storms across southern Kentucky and western/Middle Tennessee. This risk will exist for the next 3–5 hours,” the NWS said in an X post.
The storm came nearly two years to the day after the National Weather Service recorded 41 tornadoes through a handful of states, including 16 in Tennessee and eight in Kentucky. A total of 81 people died in Kentucky alone.
The Associated Press contributed to the report.
From The Epoch Times