At Least 24 Dead After Tornado Tears Across Nashville (Video)
Tornadoes tore across central Tennessee early Tuesday morning leaving at least 24 people dead.
"These tornadoes struck down in a number of places around the state,” Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said at a press conference Tuesday morning, according to The Tennessean. “It is heartbreaking. We have had loss of life all across the state. Four different counties, as of this morning, had confirmed fatalities.”
One tornado touched down in Nashville just after midnight, where it caused major structural damage, left hundreds of people homeless and at least 150 people hospitalized, according to the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency.
The tornado's winds were up to 60 mph, however the system just missed the heart of downtown Nashville — leaving tourist attractions like the honky tonks of Broadway, the Grand Ole Opry House, the storied Ryman Auditorium, and the convention center unharmed, according to The Associated Press.
However, The AP noted that trendy neighborhoods of Germantown and East Nashville, complete with restaurants and high-end apartment complexes, were greatly affected.
Also damaged in the storm's path was Tennessee State Prison where films like "Walk the Line" and "Green Mile" were filmed, CNN reported. The prison has not been open since 1992 but it became known for its architectural style.
Nashville Airport was temporarily closed the morning of the tornado but reopened after a full inspection with no apparent damage, the airport shared on Twitter. Although, travelers who are headed to or from Nashville should check their flight status before leaving for the airport as road conditions may affect flights.
The governor asked residents to refrain from driving on Tuesday as relief efforts begin. Residents are also being asked to temper phone calls unless it is an emergency. Additionally, polling sites for Super Tuesday primary voting have been moved.
There are at least 17,000 homes and businesses without power across Tennessee, according to power outage reports.
Although the storm has cleared, heavy rains are forecasted for the Nashville area on Tuesday.