A tornado touched down in Nashville, Tennessee, early in the morning on Tuesday (March 3), killing at least 19 people, injuring many more, and demolishing buildings in its path, the Weather Channel reported.
“Nashville is hurting, and our community has been devastated. My heart goes out to those who have lost loved ones. Be sure to lend a helping hand to a neighbor in need, and let's come together as a community once more,” Nashville mayor John Cooper tweeted. “Together, we will get through this and come out stronger.”
The Nashville Fire Department told the Tennessean that at least 40 structures collapsed, including homes and schools. NBC News reported that 50,000 households and businesses faced power outages around the city. Gas lines are leaking and power lines are down and Nashville schools closed on Tuesday.
“We have people missing, there are several homes flattened, so right now we are trying to establish a command post,” Putnam County Sheriff Eddie Farris told the Tennessean.
“The state of Tennessee has activated a strong coordinated response effort to last night’s devastating storms,” Tennessee Governor Bill Lee tweeted Tuesday morning. “In the hours ahead, we will continue deploying search and rescue teams, opening shelters across the state, and sending emergency personnel to our communities hit hardest.”
Meanwhile, Tennesseans are preparing to head to the polls to cast their primary votes on Super Tuesday — despite the road and building closures across the city, including some polling stations, according to NBC affiliate WSMV. Some polling sites will be open for an extra hour, and officials are on high alert to ensure that all locations stay open for the entire required 10 hours, Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett said on Twitter. It’s unknown how much the disaster will impact the outcome of Tuesday’s vote, NBC News points out, but the National Weather Service tweeted that there are no longer tornado warnings in the area. However, strong winds are anticipated, so the service recommends Tennesseans "stay alert."
There are plenty of ways to help Tennesseans, from donating to rescue efforts to volunteering your time. Visit Nashville Scene for more information.
This is a developing story. MTV News will update it as we know more.