A series of tornadoes tore through the Nashville area on Sunday, killing at least 25 people in and around Nashville and injuring dozens more. Nashville fire officials said that 25 fatalities have been confirmed, along with 33 injuries. In Nashville and its suburbs, dozens of homes, businesses and churches were destroyed, and there were reports of broken gas lines and downed trees and power lines.
In Chattanooga, Tennessee, which lies 35 miles away from Nashville, authorities confirmed the death of one person, the death of a child in a head-on collision, and the injuries of 15 others. Several reports indicated that storm-related deaths occurred across numerous areas of Tennessee, and as of 11:45 p.m. Eastern Time, meteorologists were predicting dangerous funnel clouds across several southern states, including Mississippi and Alabama.
The number of injuries reportedly stood at about 120 people, with about 100 people injured in the Nashville area. Many of the injured were taken to area hospitals.
President Trump issued a statement to Nashville Mayor David Briley, in which he praised first responders and offered prayers to those who had been injured.
To the Mayor and the people of Nashville: We are praying for you and with you. To the Nashville community, there are no words to describe how incredibly thankful we are for all of your selfless service — President Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2019
In a tweet, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland wrote, “We pray for all the victims of today’s severe storms in our region and around the country.” He also said that “we ask our Mardis Gras family to join together, help our neighbors in need, and stay safe!”
The National Weather Service reported that the tornadoes hit at 2:24 p.m. Eastern Time and damaged at least 50 buildings in the Nashville area.
In a separate Tweet, Governor Bill Haslam of Tennessee wrote, “I want to thank our first responders and the countless volunteers that put themselves in harm’s way to help others. … I know that affected Nashville families are feeling the devastation. Please continue to keep the emergency responders, community leaders, and all those in need in your thoughts and prayers.”
Following the terrifying twisters in Mid-West Tennessee, the NWS warned that the remnants of the storm were traveling rapidly across Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee. As of 11:45 p.m. Eastern Time, the National Weather Service, sending photos and video back to researchers, said that almost no area of Tennessee had escaped the twisters, which were seen as roughly seven miles wide in various locations.
In the photos and video from the scene, officials in rural areas of Knox and Smith counties described a destructive tornado that hit a small town, taking off roofs, hitting homes and blocking roads.
The Nashville metro area is home to more than 1.6 million people, and serves as the largest U.S. city outside of the East Coast.
Due to the dangerous weather, several schools in southern Tennessee canceled classes for Monday. A number of roads and highways are closed due to the storm, with many flights at the Nashville airport canceled.