String of tor­na­does kill 25 in Ten­nessee

Kuwait Times - - Internatio­nal -

NASHVILLE: A string of tor­na­does tore through Nashville, Ten­nessee, and sur­round­ing coun­ties early on Tues­day, killing at least 25 peo­ple, leav­ing oth­ers missing and re­duc­ing neigh­bor­hoods to rub­ble as vot­ers across the state cast bal­lots in the Su­per Tues­day pres­i­den­tial pri­mary. Gov­er­nor Wil­liam Lee told an af­ter­noon news con­fer­ence the death toll was ex­pected to rise as search-and-res­cue crews combed through col­lapsed build­ings and rub­ble for missing peo­ple some 15 hours after the storms hit around 1 am CST.

“Its a tragic day in our state, a sad day. There are 25 con­firmed fa­tal­i­ties,” the gov­er­nor said. “I spent the day tour­ing and vis­it­ing with vic­tims and walk­ing through neigh­bor­hoods and the dev­as­ta­tion is heart­break­ing. It’s in­cred­i­ble. Prayers are greatly needed.” Lee de­clined to es­ti­mate how many peo­ple re­mained unaccounte­d for in the state. Nine­teen of the 25 fa­tal­i­ties were from Put­nam County, east of Nashville.

The Na­tional Weather Ser­vice said eight tor­na­does were be­lieved to have touched down in Mis­souri, Ten­nessee and Ken­tucky, but that num­ber could change fol­low­ing fur­ther anal­y­sis. It was not yet clear how many landed a di­rect hit on Nashville. In ad­di­tion to the fa­tal­i­ties, at least 30 peo­ple were in­jured. Some 48 build­ings were de­stroyed in Nashville, with many more dam­aged, Fire Depart­ment Di­rec­tor Chief Wil­liam Swann said. Tens of thou­sands of peo­ple were left with­out power.

“Se­vere weather and tor­na­dos have im­pacted sev­eral coun­ties in Ten­nessee. Coun­ties with the great­est im­pacts in­clude David­son, Wilson, and Put­nam Coun­ties,” the Ten­nessee Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency said on its web­site. The storm struck as many were sleep­ing in Nashville, home to 691,000 peo­ple and one of the fastest-grow­ing cities in the United States.

“Prayers for all of those af­fected by the dev­as­tat­ing tor­na­does in Ten­nessee. We will con­tinue to mon­i­tor the de­vel­op­ments. The Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment is with you all of the way dur­ing this dif­fi­cult time,” Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump said on Twit­ter. The White House said Trump would visit the dev­as­tated ar­eas on Fri­day. Polls stay open late

Pic­tures and video posted on Twit­ter showed light­ning il­lu­mi­nat­ing the dark sky as the twisters roared through the coun­try mu­sic cap­i­tal, and day­break re­vealed dozens of lev­eled houses and busi­nesses. Ten­nessee is one 14 US states hold­ing pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nat­ing elec­tions on Su­per Tues­day and de­spite the de­struc­tion, polling sites were mostly open for vot­ing, of­fi­cials said, although some had to be moved.

A David­son County Su­pe­rior Court judge, rul­ing on an emer­gency re­quest by four of the top Demo­cratic pri­mary can­di­dates, ex­tended vot­ing by an hour at polls there and ruled that five sites re­main open un­til 10 pm. Crushed ve­hi­cles, piles of de­bris and bro­ken power lines lit­tered streets blocked by res­cue ve­hi­cles. Res­i­dents car­ried away be­long­ings from rav­aged homes.

—AFP

TEN­NESSEE: A home is shown de­stroyed by high winds from one of sev­eral tor­na­does that tore through the state overnight in Cookeville, Ten­nessee.

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