22 killed by tornadoes in Tennessee on Super Tuesday
New York - At least 22 people were killed and many others injured after tornadoes ripped through the south-eastern US state of Tennessee early Tuesday - the same day the state is due to vote in the Super Tuesday Democratic primaries.
The Tennessee Department of Health confirmed the death toll, affecting four counties across the south-eastern state, according to the local government website.
"We have had loss of life all across the state," Tennessee Governor Bill Lee said, adding that many people were missing and it was "a very difficult situation."
Lee said on Twitter that the state "will continue deploying search and rescue teams, opening shelters across the state, and sending emergency personnel to our communities hit hardest."
The State of Tennessee has activated a strong coordinated response effort to last night’s devastating storms. 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.— Governor Bill Lee (@GovBillLee) March 3, 2020
The severe weather caused extensive damage, destroying homes, businesses and plane hangars and littering motorways with overturned vehicles, according to WKRN.
The tornadoes also left tens of thousands of residents without power.
Happening Now: we are responding to reports of approx. 40 structure collapses around Nashville. Please avoid downed powerline and storm debris.— Nashville Fire Dept (@NashvilleFD) March 3, 2020
Tennessee is one of 14 states to vote in the Democratic primaries on Tuesday, and state officials were scrambling to ensure residents can get to the polls after the storm, broadcaster NBC reported.
US President Donald Trump said he was planning to visit Tennessee on Friday "in the wake of the horrible, very vicious tornado."
"Our hearts are full of sorrow for the lives that were lost," Trump said during remarks at the National Association of Counties Legislative Conference.
State capital Nashville was badly hit, with the fire department tweeting that it was responding to reports of around 40 structure collapses.
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. Together, we will get through this and come out stronger.— Mayor John Cooper (@JohnCooper4Nash) March 3, 2020
"Nashville is hurting, and our community has been devastated. My heart goes out to those who have lost loved ones," Nashville Mayor John Cooper said on Twitter.dpa