Deadly Tennessee Tornadoes Ravage Towns

Nothing gets your attention faster than a disaster in your backyard. Especially when it ends up killing six people, injuring over 36, damaging hundreds of structures, and causing thousands of homes and businesses to lose power.

If you’ve ever had the misfortune of being in the path of a tornado, you know exactly what I mean. It is nothing short of terrifying.

As you know, 4Patriots is based in Nashville, Tennessee. Our area was hit hard by a series of tornados last weekend.

Thankfully, all of us at HQ are safe. But that’s not the case for our community. 

Our hearts and prayers always go out to the victims of extreme weather. It really hits home when it, well, when it hits home.

Power Out; Temps Plunge

This tragedy occurred right at a time when Tennesseans were preparing to celebrate the upcoming holidays. Presents that were placed under the tree now lie under piles of debris. Many people are left picking up the pieces of their homes,  their livelihoods.

Among the half-dozen area residents killed were a mother and her 2-year-old toddler. When they were found under debris, the mother had her son wrapped tightly in her arms. Another 10-year-old boy pulled from the rubble was also deceased. 

States of emergency were declared. The Red Cross and churches opened at least seven emergency shelters for displaced families.

When people who lost power woke up the next morning, temperatures were below freezing. Estimates for power restoration varied from several days to weeks. 

‘There Are No Words’ 

According to the National Weather Service, tornado winds reached 150 miles per hour (EF-3) in some areas. Including Clarksville. As well as 125 mph (EF-2) in Hendersonville and the Nashville suburb of Madison.

One tornado traveled 43 miles before finally breaking up. It devastated the landscape across the counties of Montgomery and Logan. Another traveled 11 miles, damaging many buildings along its path. 

Schools in several Tennessee counties will be closed until the New Year. Food trucks and mobile showers were hauled in for residents who needed them.

Joe Pitts is the mayor of Clarksville, where three storm victims died. “There are no words,” he said. “There’s not an adjective in the dictionary that would describe what we saw yesterday morning.

“I grew up here and it’s just devastating. We’re no strangers to disasters. But one thing I do know, this city is resilient. And where there is a need, we respond.”

Electrical Substations Struck 

As if the wind speeds and devastation were not enough, there was also a large explosion in Nashville.

It was triggered when a tornado struck an electrical substation. Another substation was slammed by a tornado in Hendersonville. 

In addition, fuel was leaking from a 5,000-gallon diesel tank into a creek next to the Cumberland River.

Fire department employees have been accompanying residents into some areas to help retrieve personal items. They are part of the department’s Urban Search and Rescue Team.

Military Families Also Affected

In Clarksville alone, 91 buildings were destroyed. And another 271 are considered “uninhabitable.”

Jimmie Edwards is the director of emergency services for Montgomery County. He said, “We have a lot of families who are suffering. And our hearts are especially heavy with those that have lost some. And certainly with those that have lost all.”

Among those whose homes were destroyed are approximately 100 military families who live outside Fort Campbell. 

An early estimate for damages in Nashville’s Davidson County is $3 million. But that figure is likely to rise.

Recovery Will Be Slow 

While many homes were completely destroyed, others were missing roofs, windows, and siding. Cars and even large trucks were found on their sides. Downed trees and power lines closed roads. 

Many storefronts are facing costly repairs. One auto shop was described as unrecognizable. Steel trusses are the only things standing in some stores. And many of them are twisted.

Recovery is already beginning in some areas. But this is a marathon, not a sprint. In fact, some areas of Tennessee are still recovering from tornadoes that occurred more than three years ago.

Ronnie Glynn is a U.S. House of Representatives member from Clarksville. He said, “We know how to come together. The one thing about us is we know as neighbors, we join hands. And in this community, we lock arms.”

Volunteer State Lives Up to Its Name

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee agreed. He referred to the damage as “sad and heartbreaking.” And he expressed thanks for those who pitched in.

“Everywhere we went, we saw volunteers,” he said. “Tennesseans that were coming into neighborhoods they didn’t live in. And coming alongside people to make sure they were doing all they could to help.”

Tennessee is not called the Volunteer State without reason. Volunteers showed up to clean up debris. As well as to donate blood. And bring supplies to organizations leading recovery efforts.

A community clean-up day in Hendersonville has been scheduled for this Saturday. Main Street will be the focus, with other areas also targeted.

Please consider offering up your thoughts and prayers for the people of Tennessee who were affected by this horrific tragedy. 

In times like these, we need to band together and lift each other up. Please feel free to leave a prayer or a word of encouragement in the comments here on my blog.  

To your survival, 

Robert Boyd

Managing Editor, News4Patriots

P.S. If you’d like to make sure your family has a reliable source of backup power, go here for my top recommendation.

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