Tennessee storm damage: Death toll rises to 15 across five counties

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Severe storms marched through Middle Tennessee overnight Friday into Saturday morning, triggering thunderstorm and tornado warnings.

The same system resulted in the storms and tornadoes that swept through West Tennessee earlier Friday. They were part of a large swath of storms scattered across the Mississippi Valley.

Additional deaths, EF-3 tornadoes confirmed

The Tennessee Department of Health has confirmed 15 total deaths related to severe weather in five different counties. Nine were in McNairy, three in Shelby, one in Roane, one in Tipton and one in Henry counties, according to a news release Sunday afternoon.

The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency also confirmed 259 homes damaged by the weather.

Meanwhile, the National Weather Service in Memphis determined three EF-3 tornadoes touched down on Friday in Covington and Adamsville, Tennessee, and in Wynne, Arkansas, according to the Memphis Commercial Appeal.

Nine people dead in McNairy County after storms

The death toll in McNairy County increased from seven to nine people Saturday night after storms and a suspected EF-2 tornado swept through the area Friday, Emergency Management Agency Director Allen Strickland said.

Four of the nine people killed were in a one building in Rose Creek, McNairy County Mayor Larry Smith told the Commercial Appeal.

In total, 72 homes were destroyed by the storms and about 35-40% of the county had damage, Smith said.

National Weather Service: Suspected EF-2 tornado swept through several counties

The National Weather Service announced Sunday morning that the long-track tornado that swept through Wayne, Lewis, McNairy and Hardin counties was likely an EF-2.

"The final path length/width/rating will be determined in the next few days," the NWS said in a tweet.

By preliminary reports, the tornado began in the Wayne and Lewis counties about 11:56 p.m. Friday and ended in McNairy and Hardin counties about 40 minutes later.

The tornado traveled about 38 miles in just as many minutes at 130 mph wind speeds. It measured about half a mile wide.

One person was injured by this tornado, NWS said.

Survey teams will be in Marshall, Rutherford, Cannon and Macon counties later Sunday and Monday to look for evidence of a second tornado there.

State of emergency requested for Readyville community

Buck Owen stands in front of his home on Readyville Street on Saturday, April 1, 2023, after an early morning storm damaged his home and vehicles waiting on a family member to arrive, in the Readyville, Tenn., community.

A tornado “wiped out” the Readyville community early Saturday, leading Rutherford County Mayor Joe Carr to request a state of emergency from Gov. Bill Lee, according to a statement released by Rutherford County Emergency Management Agency Director Chris Clark Saturday afternoon.

“It looked like a bomb went off,” Carr said of the destruction in the release.

Everyone was located, but some residents suffered minor injuries as a result of the storm, which struck just before 2 a.m.

Multiple homes were destroyed on Readyville Street. Damages were also reported at the historic Readyville Mill, Reed’s Produce and Garden Center and the Tilford Lumber Co. building, the mayor said in the release. The storm ripped the roof off the U.S. Post Office.

Cleanup efforts are continuing through the weekend.

Homes, property, and businesses were severely damaged early Saturday, April 1, 2023, after a storm hit the Readyville, Tenn., community.

Volunteers are being coordinated to help clean up debris Sunday. A volunteer center will be set up beginning at 8 a.m., Sunday at New Hope Church of Christ, 4296 Murfreesboro Road near Readyville. Volunteers and impacted residents must check in and get an armband. They should bring work gloves and hard-soled shoes.

Victims of the storm have shelter options as cleanup efforts continue. The American Red Cross's shelter is at Westside Elementary School, 3714 Murfreesboro Road in Readyville. And New Hope Church of Christ has opened the church for victims and first responders to visit the restroom facilities.

Homes destroyed in Rutherford County

Approximately 10 homes in the Kittrell area near the Rutherford County and Cannon County line were destroyed and many more damaged as emergency crews continue to assess damage from overnight storms.

Two victims were extricated from a collapsed residential structure and were transported by Cannon County EMS to a local hospital, according to the Rutherford County Emergency Management Agency early Saturday morning. No fatalities or missing people are reported. At least 30 homes have damage.

Drone images from local weather spotters in Cannon County showed a path a damage and flattened homes.

Drone footage shows damage in Readyville, Tennessee, after overnight storms ripped through the area. The National Weather Service said it is out surveying damage from "likely tornadoes" in the area, among others.

Reports began around 2 a.m. of damage in the Eagleville and Readyville areas of Rutherford County. About six homes had minor damage from the storms according to initial reports by the Rutherford County Emergency Management Agency.

A number of roads were also affected.

Macon County home damaged and trees down

Part of a roof collapsed and a ceiling fell in at a home in the Dixon Springs community in southeastern Macon County, according to Emergency Management Director Don Stevens. No injuries were reported.

There also were reports of trees down from the storm, Stevens said.

Crews to survey multiple areas for tornadoes

The National Weather Service will survey areas in Middle Tennessee to determine whether tornadoes caused damage in several counties that include Wayne, Lewis, Marshall, Rutherford, Cannon and Macon overnight.

Because of widespread damage surveys may take several days, according to an NWS post on social media. The post described the chances of tornadoes occurring from the storms as "likely."

NWS will send crews to check on at least three suspected tornadoes that impacted six counties, meteorologist Alyssa Clements said.

Those include:

  • Lewis and Wayne counties

  • Maury, Rutherford and Cannon counties

  • Macon County.

Surveys could continue until at least Monday, Clements said.

More: Tornado ravages Wynne, Arkansas, leaves 4 dead, trail of debris, destruction

More: Seven dead in McNairy County, Tennessee, after storms, tornadoes sweep South

Most of Tennessee clear just past 2 a.m.

After a busy night of active tornado and thunderstorm warnings, the National Weather Service let almost all of the active warnings in Middle Tennessee expire by 2:15 a.m. Tornado warnings in eastern Middle Tennessee were downgraded to severe thunderstorm warnings as they continued to march east.

Damage reports coming into Weather Service

Damage reports from Middle Tennessee are coming into the National Weather Service in Nashville.

So far, two possible tornado sites have been identified and the National Weather Service is planning to survey the areas to validate the reports, according to Mark Rose, a meteorologist with the service.

The first site is about four miles south of Hohenwald in Lewis County. Houses with heavy damage have been reported in the Buffalo Road area.

The second site is about three miles south, southwest of Eagleville in the northeast corner of Marshall County. There were reports of downed power lines, mangled fencing, a destroyed carport and building debris in the road on Beasley, Rose said.

"We'll most likely go out tomorrow to survey," he said.

In Columbia, people were given opportunity to evacuate to a local high school as a storm cell containing a confirmed tornado approached the Mule Day festivities site, according to Sam Herron, a meteorologist with the service. Herron said later reports from the emergency management agency indicated there were no damages or injuries at the Mule Day site.

The same storm that triggered the tornado warning in Columbia has been associated with additional damage reports in Lewis, Trousdale and Wayne Counties.

In Lewis County, towards Hohenwald, there were reports of downed trees, power lines and structural damages in the area of Grinder's Creek and James Whitehead Road, Herron said. He also noted that trees were down in Hartsville in Trousdale County and homes were heavily damaged in the Leatherwood community, in northern Wayne County.

Quarter-sized hail was reported in Dickson and ping pong-sized hail was reported in White's Creek and Joelton, in Davidson County, Herron said.

One-inch hail was reported in Spring Hill, Gallatin and in Macon County, about four miles southeast of Lafayette, Rose said.

Reports: Columbia's Mule Day evacuated

Mule Day camping taking place in Columbia, Tennessee was undergoing evacuations as of 12:45 a.m., officials reported.

'Large and extremely dangerous' tornado in southwest Middle Tennessee approaches Columbia

A large tornado was confirmed to touch the ground around 12:20 a.m. near Hohenwald, Tennessee, according to NWS. Hail up to half-dollar-sized was possible.

NWS Nashville called the tornado "large and extremely dangerous."

Storms roll through Memphis, eastern Arkansas

A massive tornado Friday blew through Earle and Wynne, Arkansas, leaving a trail of destruction. Two deaths have been reported in Wynne by authorities, according to the Memphis Commercial Appeal.

The tornado destroyed buildings, damaged Wynne High School, flipped cars and shredded rooftops.

Multiple buildings in Tipton County, Tennessee were reported damaged.

Latest in Memphis: Damage reported in Tipton County after strong storms, possible tornado

National Weather Service urges weather awareness

The National Weather Service recommends having multiple ways to get weather updates.

As always, it's important to remain weather aware, NWS said, especially with overnight storms. There are multiple ways to receive weather alerts, including cell phone push alerts from local media and weather apps; social media updates; local news coverage; and NOAA weather radios.

The NWS recommends that people keep their phone and/or a weather radio nearby while they sleep.

Learn more about how to prepare for severe weather and make an emergency plan at ready.gov/plan.

More: Tornado outbreak batters Arkansas; several states in South, Midwest face deluge of severe weather

Nashville, TN weekend forecast

Saturday: Sunny. High: 67; Low: 36

Sunday: Patchy frost before 8 a.m. Otherwise, sunny. High: 66; Low: 49

This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Tennessee tornadoes: Storm death toll rises to 15 across the state