Tennessee looks to recovery after string of deadly tornadoes

By Maria Caspani

(Reuters) – Emergency crews worked on Sunday to check, clear and restore power to areas hard-hit by severe storms and tornadoes that claimed the lives of at least six people and left a trail of destruction in Tennessee this weekend.

In the city of Clarksville in Montgomery County, one of the hardest-hit areas, the Red Cross set up a shelter at a local high school to offer assistance to people who may have been temporarily displaced by the tornadoes.

Shelters were also opened in Nashville and its suburbs.

“The road to recovery is going to take time and we ask that citizens who are not directly involved in search, rescue, or recovery efforts to avoid the impacted areas,” the Clarksville Police Department said on its Facebook page on Sunday. “Emergency Crews are working as quickly as possible.”

More than 40,000 people in Tennessee were left without power as of Sunday morning, according to outage tracking website poweroutage.us.

A car partly buried under a giant pile of rubble that used to be someone’s home, collapsed roofs and blown-out windows: These were some of the dramatic images of the devastation caused by the Tennessee tornadoes.

The six fatalities were reported by officials in Montgomery County and in Nashville. A toddler was one of the three victims of the storms in the Nashville area, police said, and 13 people in stable condition were transported to nearby hospitals.

“Right now we’re just trying to be with all those people who lost so much,” Montgomery County Mayor Wes Golden told ABC News.

The U.S. National Weather Service (NWS) in Nashville ended the severe weather threat for all middle Tennessee late on Saturday. The agency on Sunday said it was dispatching survey teams over the coming days to the hardest-hit communities to assess the path and strength of the tornadoes.

“We have had six likely confirmed tornado tracks,” NWS Corey Mueller told The Tennessean. “But they won’t be confirmed until the survey team gets out there.”

(Reporting by Maria Caspani, Editing by Mark Porter)