Dozens dead after tornado hits central Tennessee, including Nashville area

Photo courtesy of ABC News

By Patrick Culcasi || Layout Assistant

At midnight on the 3rd of March, Davidson County in Tennessee was hit by extreme thunderstorms and a tornado that cut through Nashville and 3 other surrounding counties. Another tornado hit the state as well, and The New York Post claims that the second, which hit eastern Nashville, was the deadliest of the two, even though the first tornado had a path of around 50 miles. As of now, there are at least 24 confirmed deaths, at least 150 people were sent to area hospitals, and around 40 buildings collapsed. CNN reports that the storm started as some thunderstorms with some heavy winds around midnight, and a half an hour later, the warnings were upgraded to tornado warnings. When the tornado actually formed and signs of damage were reported, residents only had around 6 minutes to act and take shelter. 

Throughout the morning of the 3rd, the federal government got involved and has since been helping local governments assess the damage. Aid will be supplied to the city and surrounding area. The New York Times noted that school was canceled for the day on the third. Since this event occurred on the same day as Tennessee’s primary election day, polls were delayed opening by one hour in the affected areas. Amidst overturned cars, collapsed buildings, and widespread confusion, people are now waiting to see what will happen next. 

CNN cites that this was the deadliest tornado in the United States in seven years and the death toll may continue to rise. There is still a significant amount of people missing. In Putnam County alone there were at least 34 missing people reported earlier in the week, but as of Friday the 6th, they had all been accounted for, according to the local Channel 5 News network. The state is still in a state of emergency as schools remain closed and first responders conduct searches for missing people through damaged or abandoned buildings. Additionally, infrastructure like telephone lines and internet connections are still down in some places, and workers are struggling to make repairs due to the destruction that has been caused. This makes communication harder and locating people more challenging.

President Trump has offered his condolences to the people of Tennessee and offered the full support of the federal government. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is working in Tennessee to aid local officials and emergency responders. The full extent of the damage — and the full timeline for its repair — is still yet to be determined. On Friday the 6th, Trump visited the state and took a helicopter ride over the wreckage with Gov. Lee and Senator Marsha Balckburn. The New York Post published a quote from President Trump’s address to the people of Tennessee, he said, “I have a message for the families of those that lost their lives. We love them, they’re incredible people, it’s an incredible state. Great people, it’s a great state and they have great leadership.” 

In the coming weeks, it is likely that an estimate of the damage will be released and the reconstruction of the region will commence. 

Sophomore Patrick Culcasi is a layout assistant. His email pculcasi@fandm.edu.

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