Deadly tornado tears through Tennessee

By Meg Wagner and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 3:22 p.m. ET, March 3, 2020
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3:22 p.m. ET, March 3, 2020

What you need to know about the deadly Tennessee storm

Deadly storms and at least one tornado tore through Tennessee late last night and into this morning.

Here's where things stand now:

  • The victims: At least 22 people died in the storm — 16 in Putnam County, three in Wilson County, two in Davidson County, which includes Nashville, and one in Benton County.
  • About the tornado: It wasn't immediately clear how many tornadoes struck the region. Initial surveys indicated EF-3 tornado damage in Nashville's Donelson neighborhood and in Mt. Juliet, 20 miles east of Nashville, the weather service said. The same tornado might have hit both areas, the weather service said.
  • The damage: In Nashville, 48 buildings collapsed, Mayor John Cooper said. More damage was reported through the Middle Tennessee region.
  • Super Tuesday voting: Polls in Davidson and Wilson counties opened one hour late this morning, but later officials reported every county had polling locations available to voters. Tennessee is one of 14 US states voting in Super Tuesday elections today.

Here's a radar animation of the storm:

2:19 p.m. ET, March 3, 2020

Nashville mayor: "The city is a resilient city"

Stephanie Bragg/Shutterstock
Stephanie Bragg/Shutterstock

Nashville Mayor John Cooper said that while the deadly tornados devastated a commercial district in the city, it could have been worse.

"Frankly, we were lucky. Schools were out," Cooper said, noting the storm hit in the middle of the night. "It hit devastatingly a commercial district, but fewer homes than perhaps might have otherwise been expected."

At least 22 people were killed across the state in the storms. Cooper said residents have banded together today to support first responders and each other.

"The city is a resilient city," he told CNN. "There's a local phrase here, we believe in Nashville, and boy, this is really true today."

1:25 p.m. ET, March 3, 2020

3 Tennessee counties reported significant damage at polling places

From CNN's Chuck Johnson

Kristin Hall/AP
Kristin Hall/AP

Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett said three counties have "significant damage to voting location" following the tornadoes last night. Officials offered alternative locations to voters in those areas for today's Super Tuesday vote.

Every country in the state has polling locations open for Super Tuesday voters following the overnight tornadoes, Hargett's office said in a statement.

Polls will remain open until 8 p.m. ET.

"Our prayers and thoughts go out to all the Tennesseans impacted by last night’s tornadoes," Hargett's office added in the statement.

12:25 p.m. ET, March 3, 2020

22 people have died in Tennessee tornadoes

From CNN's Chuck Johnston

Brett Carlsen/Getty Images
Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Tennessee Emergency Management Agency now reports 22 people have died in the severe weather that went through middle Tennessee this morning. 

Here's the county breakdown: 

  • 16 fatalities in Putnam County
  • 3 fatalities in Wilson County
  • 2 fatalities in Davidson County
  • 1 fatality in Benton County

12:01 p.m. ET, March 3, 2020

Trump will visit Tennessee on Friday

From CNN's Ali Zaslav 


President Trump said he plans to visit Tennessee on Friday, and said his team is already working with state officials.

He began his remarks at the National Association of Counties Legislative Conference today by sending “warm wishes to the great people in Tennessee” in the wake of the “horrible, very vicious tornado."

10:57 a.m. ET, March 3, 2020

At least 19 dead in Tennessee tornadoes

Mark Humphrey/AP
Mark Humphrey/AP

At least 19 people have died across Tennessee after the overnight storms, the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency confirms to CNN.

Here's the county breakdown:

  • 14 deaths in Putnam county
  • 2 deaths in Wilson county
  • 2 deaths in Davidson county
  • 1 death in Benton county
11:25 a.m. ET, March 3, 2020

Alabama could extend voting hours if storms are severe

From CNN's Pamela Kirkland and Dianne Gallagher

If Alabama experiences severe weather, polling hours may be extended upon court order, depending on the severity of the situation, Grace Newcombe, the press secretary for Alabama's Secretary of State, tells CNN.

The election will run as planned today, she said, but Secretary John Merrill has encouraged Alabamians to take extreme caution when traveling to the polls.

Earlier today, two counties in Tennessee delayed voting following the deadly overnight tornadoes.

Tennessee and Alabama are two of the 14 states voting in Super Tuesday elections today.

10:07 a.m. ET, March 3, 2020

Trump offers "prayers for all of those affected" by the tornadoes

From CNN's Ali Zaslav

In his first remarks on the tornado that devastated parts of Tennessee, President Trump said on Twitter that he’s sending “prayers for all of those affected.”

He added they will continue to “monitor developments” and the federal government is with them “all of the way.”

9:59 a.m. ET, March 3, 2020

Nashville residents had only a few minutes of lead time on tornado

From CNN's Brandon Miller

Mark Humphrey/AP
Mark Humphrey/AP

The tornado warning for Davidson county, which includes the Nashville area, was issued at 12:35 a.m. local time. The damage report in East Nashville came in at 12:41 a.m, indicating residents in East Nashville received around six minutes of lead time. 

Residents to the west in Nashville would have had even less lead time. 

The first report that mentioned a large tornado confirmed on the ground "near Nashville" came in at 12:38 a.m. local time, which would have been as little as three minutes of lead time before the tornado was on the ground in and around Nashville. 

There was a severe thunderstorm warning that was issued at 12:10 a.m., which included Nashville and Davidson county, but it was not upgraded to a tornado warning until 12:35 a.m.