9 dead after tornado hits Nashville, nearby counties

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NASHVILLE, Tennessee (AP/CNN/WJW) – The death toll in Tennessee has risen to 9 after tornadoes hit early Tuesday morning.

The Metro Nashville Police Department reports two people were killed in East Nashville.

WKRN reports 4 additional fatalities in Putnam County, about 2 hours east of Nashville.

The Benton County Sheriff’s Office reports 1 death there.

The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency says two have been killed in Wilson County.

The Nashville Fire Department reports as many as 40 building collapses.

Multiple homes were damaged.

John C. Tune Airport in West Nashville also “sustained significant damage,” according to a tweet from Nashville International Airport.

The National Weather Service reported a tornado was located near Nashville at 12:38 a.m. CST, moving east about 45 mph, the agency said.

Mt. Juliet police said in a tweet that they are searching for injured people. “There are multiple homes damaged and multiple injuries. We have requested mutual aid from allied agencies. We continue to search for injured,” the tweet said.

At least two blocks of multi-story buildings are shown with their windows blown out in the Germantown area of downtown Nashville, images from affiliate WTVF show.

Scraps of wood and metal lined the street as people stood outside in their pajamas with their pets surveying the damage.

A resident of the area impacted by the tornado, who didn’t give her name, told WTVF she was woken up by the tornado as it tore the roof off part of her building.

“It just woke you out of your sleep,” she said. “I’m lucky my side didn’t get torn off. The other side is totally torn off.”

“When you’re inside it’s one thing, but to walk outside and see this it’s bad,” the woman told the affiliate.

A video posted online from east Nashville showed what appeared to be a well-defined tornado moving quickly across the city. Lightning repeatedly flashed while much of the city was in the dark. The whir of the wind could be heard gusting after the tornado moved out of sight.

A reported gas leak forced an evacuation of the IMT building in the Germantown community, according to WSMV-TV. Photos showed dozens of people in the street carrying their belongings not long after the tornado moved through the city.

Two tornado warnings in Putnam County, east of Nashville, were reported a short time later. The National Weather Service said the tornadoes were confirmed on radar.

The National Weather Service said the tornadoes were confirmed on radar.

A reported gas leak in the Germantown community of Nashville forced an evacuation shortly after the tornado moved through the city.

Jeff Roberts of the Elections Commission said in a statement early Tuesday that information about damage to polling stations is being collected as polls open for Super Tuesday.

The storm has since cleared the Nashville area and the tornado warning has expired, but tornado warnings were issued by the National Weather Service throughout northern Tennessee.

Investigators with the National Weather Service will survey the damage and confirm the tornado’s intensity later today.

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