At least 19 people were killed in a Tennessee storm, including at least two tornadoes, that struck downtown Nashville and surrounding areas early Tuesday morning, officials said.
Tennessee Emergency Management Agency spokeswoman Maggie Hannan confirmed to The Hill that 19 fatalities were recorded.
The Nashville Police Department reported on Twitter that at least two people were killed in East Nashville in the storm, while Putnam County Sheriff Eddie Farris confirmed to CNN affiliate WTVF that three people had died in his county. Officials also reported deaths in Benton and Wilson counties, according to Fox17.
Hannan told The Associated Press that the tornadoes struck after midnight, affecting buildings, roads, bridges, utilities and businesses.
“A tornado skipped across the county,” Nashville Mayor John Cooper told the Tennessean while at an emergency shelter. “You do have people at the hospital and frankly there have been fatalities.”
The mayor also tweeted out a statement saying the city is “hurting” and the community “has been devastated.”
“My heart goes out to those who have lost loved ones,” he posted. “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.”
Nashville's Fire Department Chief William Swann said at least 48 buildings collapsed, and first responders are going door-to-door for community checks.
One of the destroyed buildings included a popular music venue, the Basement East, which hosted a rally for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) shortly before the storm hit, according to the AP.
The storm came hours before the state is scheduled to participate in Super Tuesday by holding votes for the 2020 primary. The city’s Metro Nashville Public Schools announced that schools would be closed Tuesday, but schools acting as polling sites would still be open unless “otherwise noted.”
Some polling sites were relocated just hours before they were scheduled to open, according to the AP. The mayor noted that less than 10 percent of polling places were affected by the storm at the press conference.
Nashville Electric announced the tornadoes have left more than 47,000 customers without power.
President TrumpDonald TrumpMan sentenced to nearly four years for running scam Trump, Biden PACs Meadows says Trump's blood oxygen level was dangerously low when he had COVID-19 Trump endorses David Perdue in Georgia's governor race MORE tweeted that he is sending prayers to "all of those affected by the devastating tornadoes in Tennessee."
"We will continue to monitor the developments," he posted. "The Federal Government is with you all of the way during this difficult time."
Prayers for all of those affected by the devastating tornadoes in Tennessee. We will continue to monitor the developments. The Federal Government is with you all of the way during this difficult time. https://t.co/eZlA7Ahruj— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 3, 2020
Updated at 12:10 p.m.