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Tornadoes kill at least 22 in Tennessee and damage Nashville airport

Tornadoes kill at least 22 in Tennessee and damage Nashville airport

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Tornadoes kill at least 22 in Tennessee and damage Nashville airport

Tornadoes tore through Tennessee overnight killing at least 22 people and causing severe damage to at least 140 buildings, including a Nashville Airport.

Nashville John C. Tune Airport (JWN), the largest dedicated GA gateway in Tennessee, was extensively damaged last night. According to aerial photos and video of the scene, at least 4 hangars were completely devastated, including one showing five jets amidst the ruins, along with several smaller aircraft.

More single-engine aircraft were shown strewn across the tarmac. A spokesperson from the Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority, which owns and manages JWN said the airport is closed as crews continue to assess the damage, but confirmed there was damage to the Contour FBO, the lone service provider on the field.

Authorities have described the efforts to find survivors in residential and city areas as painstaking as they work through the piles of debris. The death toll continues to climb as emergency responders sift their way through the rubble and wrecked basements of homes.

One twister caused severe damage across a 10-mile (16
kilometer) stretch of downtown Nashville, wrecking businesses and homes and
destroying the tower and stained glass of a historic church. Another erased
homes from their foundations along a two-mile (3.2-kilometer) path in Putnam

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.

The death toll jumped to 19 on Tuesday, Tennessee Emergency
Management Spokeswoman Maggie Hannan said, after police and fire crews spent
hours pulling survivors and bodies from wrecked buildings.

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

The tornadoes were spawned by a line of severe storms with a
line of storms that stretched from near Montgomery, Alabama, into western

In Nashville, it tore through areas 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 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.

Videos posted online showed what appeared to be a
well-defined tornado moving quickly across the Nashville area, flashing with
lightning as it ripped open living rooms and exposed kitchens to the elements.
Metro Nashville police said crews were responding to about 40 building

Among them was a popular music venue that had just held an
election rally for presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. The crowd left
shortly before the twister struck the Basement East Nashville, the Tennessean

The disaster affected voting in Tennessee, one of 14 Super
Tuesday states. Some polling sites in Nashville were moved, and sites across
Davidson and county and Wilson counties were opening an hour late but still
closing at the same time, Secretary of State Tre Hargett announced.

A reported gas leak forced an evacuation of the IMT building
in Germantown, according to a local news station. Dozens of people, suddenly
homeless, were seen carrying their belongings through garbage-strewn streets
after the tornado blew through.

Nashville Electric tweeted that four of its substations were
damaged in the tornado. Power outages were affecting more than 44,000 customers
early Tuesday, the utility company said.

The governor’s spokeswoman, Gillum Ferguson, said hundreds
of people went to a Red Cross shelter for displaced residents at the Nashville
Farmers Market, just north of the state capitol, but a power outage there
forced people to move again to the Centennial Sportsplex.

The outage also extended to the Capitol, forcing the
cancellation of legislative meetings.

Metro Nashville Public Schools said its schools would be
closed Tuesday because of the tornado damage. Wilson County, just east of metro
Nashville will close schools for the rest of the week.

The storm system left just scattered rain in its wake as it
moved eastward. Strong cells capable of causing damage were spotted in central
Alabama, eastern Tennessee and the western Carolinas.

Early morning storms also damaged homes and toppled trees in
rural central Alabama, where the National Weather Service reported winds up to
60 mph (97 kmh) and issued tornado warnings for at least five counties.

In rural Bibb County southwest of Birmingham, seven poll
workers were getting ready to open the doors to Super Tuesday voters at the
Lawley Senior Activity Center when cellphone alerts began sounding a tornado
warning about 6:45 a.m., said volunteer Gwen Thompson. She said they were voting
by flashlight.

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Source: eTurboNews Syndication