Multiple tornadoes ripped through central Tennessee late Saturday, killing six people and sending another two dozen to hospital as homes and businesses were damaged in multiple cities.
Local emergency services said tens of thousands of residents were left in the dark after power failures in the wake of the multiple twisters.
“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,” the Montgomery County in Tennessee said on its Facebook page confirming the first of the fatalities.
Multiple warnings were issued by authorities both before and after the cataclysmic weather events.
BREAKING: Multiple power lines/poles down down along Gallatin N/OHB area. Severe damage along Nesbitt Ln where there are at least 3 fatalities. Others transported with injuries. Urban Search & Rescue is currently assisting @NashvilleFD.— Metro Nashville PD (@MNPDNashville) December 10, 2023
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.
AP reports 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.
“This is devastating news and our hearts are broken for the families of those who lost loved ones,” said Clarksville Mayor Joe Pitts in a statement. “The city stands ready to help them in their time of grief.”
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, the AP report noted.
Moments ago DOT cameras caught a destructive #tornado moving over I-65 just north of downtown Nashville. Power flashes and even an explosion can be seen in the distance! This storm cell continues to push east this evening!#TNwx pic.twitter.com/dIqJd66Pdt— WeatherNation (@WeatherNation) December 9, 2023
The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement the first of the tornadoes touched down around 2 p.m. A shelter was set up at a local high school.
The National Weather Service issued multiple tornado warnings in Tennessee, and said it planned to survey an area where an apparent tornado hit in Kentucky.
More than 80,000 electricity customers were without power in Tennessee on Saturday night, according to PowerOutage.us.