Recovery operations continue as multiple tornadoes leave death and destruction in the Nashville area.
Repair and rescue workers are surveying the devastation after powerful tornadoes tore through the US state of Tennessee, leaving at least six people dead and dozens injured, authorities said.
Tornadoes touched down Saturday afternoon in and around Nashville, the capital of Tennessee, causing “extensive damage” as officials urged residents to seek shelter.
The mayor of Clarksville, 65km (40 miles) north of the capital city of Nashville, where two adults and a child died, declared a state of emergency and imposed a curfew from 9pm Saturday (03:00 GMT Sunday).
“Additionally, 23 people were treated at the hospital,” county officials said.
“This is devastating news and our hearts break for the families of those who lost loved ones,” Clarksville Mayor Joe Pitts said in a statement. “The city is ready to help them in their time of grief.”
Residents are asked to stay indoors while first responders assess the situation. “Please, if you need help, call 911 and help will come right away. But if you can, please stay home. Don’t go out on the streets. Our first responders need time and space,” Pitts said.
Three more people died in a suburb of Nashville, while photos posted by the city’s Office of Emergency Management showed scattered roads, downed trees, overturned cars and collapsed buildings. house
First responders are still in the search and rescue phase of this disaster, it added, asking residents to stay away from the roads.
Tennessee Governor Bill Lee said he and his wife, Maria, are praying for all Tennesseans affected by the storms.
“We mourn the lives lost and ask that everyone continue to follow guidance from local and state officials,” Lee said in a statement.
Shaken residents recalled terrifying encounters as the tornadoes passed overhead as they took shelter in basements, shops, schools and hotels. Dozens of homes and businesses were damaged and nearly 52,000 customers reported power outages in the state as of Saturday night, down from 86,000 earlier, according to poweroutage.us.
The storm came nearly two years to the day after the National Weather Service recorded 41 tornadoes across several states, including 16 in Tennessee and eight in Kentucky. A total of 81 people died in Kentucky alone.
Scientists say climate change is increasing the intensity and frequency of extreme weather events around the world.