Crews are searching for survivors and surveying damage after tornadoes and severe storms hit Tennessee, overturning cars, destroying buildings and leaving at least six people dead.
At least three people are dead, including a child, after an apparent tornado hit the Clarksville area in Montgomery County in northern Tennessee, officials said Saturday night.
Montgomery County was in a “Search and rescue phase” Saturday night after nearly two dozen people were treated for injuries at a hospital, authorities said.
Footage obtained by CNN shows what appears to be a tornado tearing across a Clarksville highway, sending debris into the air and uprooting power lines as it tore through the area.
After the storm, cars were left on their roofs while fallen trees and debris littered the roads. Photographs show that the roofs and walls of several buildings were torn off.
“This is devastating news and our hearts are broken for the families of those who lost loved ones,” Clarksville Mayor Joe Pitts said in a statement. “The city stands ready to help them in their time of grief.”
As Clarksville searched for survivors and possibly additional victims, the mayor declared a state of emergency Saturday night and enacted a 9 p.m. curfew.
Tennessee Governor Bill Lee thanked state and local first responders in a statement about shortly after Saturday night’s storms.
“Maria and I are praying for all Tennesseans who have been affected by the tornadoes that hit the state tonight,” he wrote. “We mourn the lives lost and ask that everyone follow the instructions of local and state officials.”
Rex Stockton told CNN affiliate WSMV that the roof was ripped off his Clarksville home in the storm. He went out after the storm passed to survey the damage and saw that his neighborhood had been devastated.
“There were entire houses that just disappeared,” he said.
Stockton and his wife, a local nurse, began helping their neighbors along with other good Samaritans. They could hear screams for help in the rubble, he said, and they managed to help some people.
“She was able to do some CPR, but she wasn’t alone,” Stockton told WSMV, calling the experience “traumatic” but noting that he and his wife were “lucky.”
“There were doctors. People came from all over to help and they were able to do what they could,” she said.
Nearly 50 miles away, three more people were confirmed dead in Madison, Tennessee, just north of Nashville, emergency management officials said Saturday night.
“We have teams assessing the damage and looking for patients,” the Nashville Office of Emergency Management said. said in Xthe social media platform formerly known as Twitter.
Images showed severe damage in the area where the deaths were reported, with heavy debris covering a car.
At least two tornadoes, each described as large and dangerous, were confirmed Saturday afternoon, including one in Montgomery County and another near the town of Rutherford in Gibson County, the National Weather Service said.
The tornado reports came as a severe weather outbreak hit more than 1,200 miles of the eastern United States from the Gulf Coast to the Canadian border on Saturday, with more bad weather on the way on Sunday.
“Today a storm turned the world upside down for many in our community,” said Freddie O’Connell, Mayor of Nashville and Davidson County.
The mayor declared a state of emergency in the area, where he said first responders were still working to reach hard-to-reach areas.
Nashville Office of Emergency Management
Storm damage on Nesbitt Lane in Madison, Tennessee, on Saturday.
He urged residents to stay away from affected areas and call the Red Cross if they have been displaced.
“Many of our neighbors have a long road of healing and recovery ahead of them,” O’Connell said.
“Significant damage” from a tornado was also reported in the Tennessee cities of Gallatin and Hendersonville, northeast of Nashville, according to a joint statement from the communities’ mayors.
“It is of utmost importance that citizens stay off the roads and allow first responders and utility crews to respond,” officials said.
As Tennessee deals with the fallout, more storms are expected to hit the eastern United States on Sunday.
“Isolated severe thunderstorms will be possible through Sunday night in parts of the southeastern states, primarily in the form of sporadic damaging winds and a few brief tornadoes,” the Weather Prediction Center said.
Storms will reach their maximum strength Sunday afternoon as they expand and engulf much of the east. Wind gusts from the storms will be slightly stronger on Sunday compared to Saturday and could knock out power and disrupt travel.
Widespread gusts of 40 to 50 mph are expected to hit the mid-Atlantic and Northeast. Gusts could strengthen and reach up to 60 mph at times Sunday night in New England and coastal parts of New York and New Jersey.
Storm damage was left behind in Clarksville, Tennessee, on Saturday.
From Florida to New England, widespread rainfall totals of 1 to 2 inches are likely.
Some thunderstorms may become severe on Sunday, with an area from the Florida Panhandle to Virginia most likely to see a handful of damaging storms. Damaging wind gusts will be the main threat in these storms, but an isolated tornado is also possible.
Parts of New England could become a wintry mix of rain, snow and freezing rain Sunday night into Monday.
CNN meteorologist Mary Gilbert contributed to this report.