NASHVILLE, TN – On Tuesday morning, President Trump spoke on the deadly tornadoes, and announced his plan to visit Tennessee late in the week.
As of Wednesday afternoon, 25 people are confirmed dead after the deadly tornadoes ripped through Tennessee early Tuesday morning.
Officials have confirmed the following fatalities: 18 in Putnam County, four in Wilson County, two in Nashville, and one in Benton County.
Daybreak revealed a landscape littered with blown-down walls and roofs, snapped power lines and huge broken trees, leaving city streets in gridlock. Schools, courts, transit lines, an airport and the state capitol were closed, and some damaged polling stations had to be moved only hours before Super Tuesday voting began.
“Last night was a reminder about how fragile life is,” Nashville Mayor John Cooper said at a Tuesday morning news conference.
Residents of the historic Germantown neighborhood walked around in dismay as emergency crews closed off roads. Roofs had been torn off apartment buildings, large trees uprooted and debris littered many sidewalks. Walls were toppled, exposing living rooms and kitchens in damaged homes. Mangled power lines and broken trees came to rest on cars, streets and piles of rubble.
“It is heartbreaking. We have had loss of life all across the state,” Gov. Bill Lee said. The governor ordered all non-essential state workers to stay home Tuesday before going up in a helicopter to survey the damage.
The tornadoes were spawned by a line of severe storms that caused damage across Tennessee.
It ripped through parts of the metropolitan area that have been transformed by a recent building boom. Germantown and East Nashville are two of the city’s trendiest neighborhoods, with restaurants, music venues, high-end apartment complexes and rising home prices threatening to drive out long-time residents.
One tornado touched down near downtown and reportedly stayed on the ground for about 10 miles (16 kilometers), into Nashville’s eastern suburbs, following a path parallel to Interstate 40 and causing more damage in Mt. Juliet, Lebanon, Hermitage and other communities.