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Devastating Tornado Outbreak Strikes Tennessee: Clarksville Hit by EF3, Madison by EF2


Emergency crews and storm-assessment teams fanned out across Middle Tennessee on Sunday following the onslaught of an estimated 13 tornadoes late Saturday night, as reported by the National Weather Service.

Tragically, six fatalities were recorded in Clarksville and Madison, with an additional 83 individuals transported to local hospitals — 62 from Clarksville and 21 from the Nashville area. Nine of the hospitalized individuals were in critical condition at Vanderbilt University Medical Center on Sunday.

Montgomery County Mayor Wes Golden, visibly emotional, shared, “Our community is strong, and our faith is strong. We will get through this together. Please pray for all of those involved.”

The National Weather Service confirmed two tornadoes on Sunday evening, designating Clarksville and Madison as the hardest-hit areas. The storm’s impact also extended to Hendersonville and Gallatin, with ongoing assessments in Springfield to determine if tornadoes officially occurred, according to NWS meteorologist Cory Mueller.

By Sunday afternoon, emergency responders had tentatively identified 13 tornadoes, along with additional straight-line wind events causing damage across the state.

The Red Cross, alongside churches and other organizations, opened emergency shelters while utility crews worked tirelessly to restore power to tens of thousands of customers amid near-freezing temperatures.

Nashville Mayor Freddie O’Connell expressed gratitude for the community’s resilience in a news conference, acknowledging the heartbreaking damage, including 22 collapsed structures and numerous others damaged.

Governor Bill Lee and First Lady Maria Lee toured devastated areas, offering support and condolences to affected residents. The governor urged Tennesseans to come together, emphasizing the outpouring of volunteerism witnessed throughout the affected neighborhoods.

One family credited their dog, George, for saving their lives by alerting them to the approaching tornado. Christina Johnson recounted George’s unusual behavior, prompting them to seek shelter just in time.

The National Weather Service confirmed an EF-3 tornado with winds of 150 mph in Clarksville and an EF-2 tornado with winds of 125 mph in the Madison/Hendersonville/Gallatin area.

A resident in Clarksville, Dustin Arnold, described the tornado’s “UFO”-like appearance, witnessing a flying trampoline during the storm. Despite substantial damage to his home, Arnold and his family sought refuge in a hallway and emerged unharmed.

Preliminary inspections by the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency revealed that at least 11 counties suffered damage from the storms and tornadoes. The count of confirmed tornadoes is expected to increase as assessments continue.

Clarksville bore the brunt of the disaster, with 65 structures experiencing minor damage, 339 with moderate damage, 271 with major damage, and 91 structures totally destroyed, according to the Montgomery County Emergency Management Agency.

In a significant development, nearly 100 military families from Fort Campbell residing in Clarksville are displaced due to the tornado, as disclosed by Col. Christopher J. Midberry, Garrison Commander at Fort Campbell, during a press conference on Sunday.