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Tennessee Trampled by Tornadoes

Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) officials said on Tuesday that at least 19 were killed by tornadoes that ravaged four counties in western and central Tennessee.  The worst damage was concentrated in and around Nashville, according to The Washington Post.

As responders continue to search for victims, it is possible that the death toll could increase.

At a Tuesday morning press conference, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee confirmed that four different counties had fatalities—Benton, Putnam, Wilson, and Davidson, reports.

The tornado touched down northwest of Nashville shortly before 12:40 a.m. ET, according to the National Weather Service.

The line of severe storms caused significant damage to buildings, roads, and bridges across the multiple counties, according to a TEMA bulletin released early this morning. Officials are now trying to assess the scope of the damage.

At least 20 people have been hospitalized, and at least 30 first responders have been injured, according to local officials.

Nashville Electric Service President Decosta Jenkins said at least 50,000 people were without power after four major substations were damaged and more than 80 electrical poles were down.

The storms came only hours before Super Tuesday voting in presidential primary nominating elections. Davidson County, which includes Nashville, pushed back the opening of its polling centers by an hour to 8:00 a.m. due to storm damage. The polls are still scheduled to close at 7 p.m., as originally planned.

In a tweet Tuesday morning, Lee said Tennessee had activated a coordinated response effort.

“In the hours ahead, we will continue deploying search and rescue teams, opening shelters across the state, and sending emergency personnel to our communities hit hardest,” Lee tweeted.