At least nine dead as tornado rips through Nashville

(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) — At least nine people have been killed after a devastating tornado ripped through Nashville, Tennessee early Tuesday, and Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee warned there may be more fatalities.

LATEST:

— Four people were killed in Putnam County, two in Davidson County, two in Wilson County and one in Benton County, according to the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency.

— Many others were injured and multiple businesses and homes have been flattened, authorities said.

— Some people remain missing.

East Nashville and the suburb of Mt. Juliet were hit particularly hard.

“Our community has been greatly impacted by a tornado,” Capt. Chandler of the Mt. Juliet Police Department said early Tuesday. “There are multiple homes damaged and multiple people injured. Our officers are in the early stages of this response and we continue to assess what is happening … there are multiple homes damaged, multiple people injured, multiple people still trapped. We need your help.”

“There are gas lines that are leaking, power lines that are on the ground, and multiple emergency responders are responding to those who are injured and trying to get them the help that they need,” Chandler continued. “We appreciate your concern, your prayers. Continue to pray for our first responders and those that are injured and we will continue to keep you updated.”

The Nashville Fire Department said they were responding to reports of about 40 collapsed structures in and around Nashville.

The tornado reportedly stayed on the ground for about 10 miles into Hermitage, Tennessee.

Some of the hardest-hit areas in the storm include Centennial Boulevard and Briley Parkway in West Nashville where there were reports of heavy damage to planes as well as overturned tractor-trailers across interstates, according to ABC News’ Nashville affiliate WKRN-TV.

The Five Points neighborhood in East Nashville is half-destroyed, WKRN reported.

“It’s like driving through a war zone,” tweeted WKRN reporter Brent Remadna. “Cars destroyed, buildings destroyed…breaks my heart.”

Fifty-thousand customers are without power, officials said.

Some Super Tuesday polling stations may also have been impacted by the tornado, WKRN reported.

Fifteen polling places will have an alternative location for voters and that list will be released, officials said.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee called the loss of life and damage “heartbreaking.”

Nashville Mayor John Cooper urged residents to avoid driving Tuesday to help the recovery efforts move more quickly.
 
All metropolitan Nashville schools are closed on Tuesday.

The destruction came amid an outbreak of twisters in Tennessee, Missouri and Kentucky.

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