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CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A State of Emergency has been declared in Clarksville after severe weather rolled through the area Saturday afternoon, leaving three people dead and more than 20 injured.
According to Ed Baggett, the director of the Montgomery County Emergency Management Agency (EMA), multiple fatalities have been confirmed in the Garrettsburg Road area, where Clarksville city officials told News 2 a tornado touched down on Saturday, Dec. 9.
Clarksville and Montgomery officials sent a joint statement just after 7 p.m., saying two adults and one child died because of the tornado. In addition, 23 people have been treated at the hospital.
“This is a sad day for our community. We are praying for those who are injured, lost loved ones, and lost their homes. This community pulls together like no other and we will be here until the end,” Montgomery County Mayor Wes Golden said.
“This is devastating news and our hearts are broken for the families of those who lost loved ones. The City stands ready to help them in their time of grief,” Clarksville Mayor Joe Pitts added.
Then, shortly after 8:30 p.m., Pitts declared a State of Emergency and public curfew to be enforced in Clarksville in the aftermath of Saturday’s tornado:
In accordance with Section 1-1204 of the Official City Code, and in light of the natural disaster occurring today, I am declaring the City of Clarksville to be under a State of Emergency. In furtherance of the State of Emergency, I find it is necessary for the health, safety, and welfare of the community to place the City under a Curfew for tonight (12/9) and tomorrow night (12/10) beginning at 9 p.m.
The Clarksville Police Department announced that its officers, as well as members of Clarksville Fire Rescue and Montgomery County Emergency Medical Services, were responding to multiple locations in the northern part of Clarksville due to extensive damage from the tornado that touched down at approximately 1:35 p.m.
“Clarksville-area residents, PLEASE stay out of the way of any emergency first responders who are on, or headed to the scene of, afternoon storm damage in our area,” the City of Clarksville posted on social media.
The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office confirmed several houses in the Hand Estates area were damaged near Garrettsburg Road after the tornado touched down in the area. Law enforcement and emergency crews searched the area to find residents and ensure their safety.
“Due to potential dangers from the weather, downed power lines, and debris, we asked that the community shelter in place and stay off the roadways,” the sheriff’s office wrote on Facebook.
Then, shortly after 3:30 p.m., Montgomery County reported a confirmed tornado was spotted 16 miles south of Clarksville, moving northeast at 45 mph.
According to police, as of 3:49 p.m., Fort Campbell Boulevard is shut down at the 101st Airborne Division Parkway, with traffic being diverted onto the 101st.
At 7:40 p.m., Montgomery County announced additional road closures:
- Britton Springs Road due to lots of debris
- 1105 Garrettsburg Road due to downed trees
- Lafayette and Purple Heart due to downed power lines
- Interstate 24 West at mile marker 1 due to an overturned semi-trailer
- Route 41A North at 101st
- Winterset Drive and Millett Drive due to downed power lines
In addition, Pisgah Elementary School was set to be a shelter, but since it doesn’t have power, the shelter will now be at Northeast High School at 3701 Trenton Road, complete with Red Cross staffing.
Montgomery County officials told News 2 that first responders are currently in the “search and rescue phase” following the tornado activity, which destroyed multiple structures.
Crews are reportedly searching homes for anyone who may have been trapped or injured, especially since there are confirmed injuries, but there are no confirmed missing persons at this time.
“Our priority at this time is finding and assisting people,” Michelle Newell, the public information officer for the Montgomery County government, said in a statement. “Public Safety personnel are requesting that people stay off the roads so first responders can move about freely and access those who need help faster.”
Montgomery County Animal Care and Control (MCACC) said it is getting a lot of stray animal calls and responding accordingly, but staff are unable to access many of the damaged areas in Clarksville because of the ongoing search and rescue operations. MCACC will respond to those areas as soon as it is safe to do so.
In the meantime, if you are in a section of Clarksville impacted by the severe weather, you discover a lost pet, and you are able to house them temporarily, you are encouraged to do so. You are also asked to fill out a report on MCACC’s website, including a photo of the animal and the location where it was found.
News 2 received and took the following photos of storm damage from Clarksville:
Just after 5 p.m., Golden and Pitts shared a message on Facebook Live, urging community members to stay home and stay off the roads so emergency crews can take care of storm-related hazards, such as downed power lines and damaged structures.
“We will have an opportunity for you to help and mobilize volunteers, neighbor helping neighbor, which is what Clarksville-Montgomery County does so well, and you’ll hear more about that in the days to come, but please know that we’ve got our best and brightest in this room and throughout the city working to protect everyone,” Pitts said.
According to the mayors, Tennova Healthcare has called in personnel; EMS units have come in from Davidson, Cheatham, and Stewart counties; and Vanderbilt, First-Call, and Amerimed are helping out on site.
Montgomery County said community members have reached out about donating items to residents displaced by the storm, so officials are coordinating a receiving location for donations.
U.S. Rep. Mark Green posted the following statement on Facebook after the first tornado hit Clarksville:
Our prayers are with all affected by the tornado that touched down in Clarksville and the surrounding areas today. My team is in touch with local officials and Fort Campbell leadership, and we stand ready to assist in any way needed.
State Rep. Ronnie Glynn also responded to the situation, sharing this statement with News 2 Saturday evening:
My heart is heavy this evening in Clarksville as I reported to the damage these violent tornadoes have caused. Authorities are asking that if possible, please stay home and keep the road ways cleared for first responders to be able to make way to the many calls they are receiving. If you are displaced from your home, Northeast High School has opened to provide shelter. I want to thank the surrounding counties for their aid during this time including Davidson, Cheatham, and
Stewart County’s first responders. I’m praying for Clarksville deeply and urgently this evening. We will work together to build our community back. Be safe Clarksville.
Glynn sent another statement later in the night after the three weather-related deaths were confirmed in Clarksville:
I’ve received word of three confirmed deaths here in the Clarksville area. I’m grieving for them and the others who have lost their lives throughout Middle Tennessee in these vicious storms. My heart is heavy this evening in Clarksville as I witnessed the damage these violent tornadoes have caused. Authorities are asking that, if possible, please stay home and keep roadways cleared for first responders to be able to access the many calls they are receiving. If you are displaced from your home, Northeast High School has opened to provide shelter. I want to commend the Clarksville Police Department, Clarksville Fire Rescue and the Montgomery County EMS for their hard work and service. I also want to thank the surrounding counties for their aid during this time including Davidson, Cheatham, and Stewart County’s first responders. I’m praying for Clarksville deeply and urgently this evening. We will work together to build our community back. Be safe, Clarksville.
No additional details have been released about Saturday’s severe weather.
As of 8 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 10, CDE Lightband, reported there are 13,176 customers affected by outages, split among 32 active outage groups.
Just before 8 a.m. Sunday, the Clarksville Police Department issued the following statement:
The Clarksville Police Department wants to express their deepest condolences to the families that lost loved ones, and to those who were directly affected by the tornado yesterday. 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 avoid the impacted areas. Emergency Crews are working as quickly as possible and operations will continue until the scenes have been checked and cleared.
Clarksville and Montgomery County government, law enforcement, and emergency officials are set to hold a briefing about the storm at 10:30 a.m. Sunday