Tennessee tornadoes leave at least 21 dead

A powerful storm system produced at least two tornadoes that struck central Tennessee early on Tuesday morning, including one that caused significant damage near downtown Nashville and killed at least 21 people as crews spent hours pulling survivors and bodies from wrecked buildings.

The tornado near downtown Nashville lit up the night sky with flashes of light as transformers blew and the storm reportedly stayed on the ground into Hermitage, about 10 miles east of the city.

President Trump said Tuesday that he would visit Tennessee on Friday following a deadly string of tornadoes that authorities said killed at least 19 people in the state.

“Before I begin, I want to send my warm wishes to the great people of Tennessee in the wake of the horrible and very vicious tornado that killed at least 19 people and injured many more,” Trump said in the outset of remarks at the National Association of Counties Legislative Conference on Tuesday.

Trump said that his administration is working with Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) and other state officials “to make sure that everything is done properly” and noted that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is already on the ground in the state helping with recovery efforts.

“FEMA is already on the ground and I’ll be going there on Friday,” Trump said. “Our hearts are full of sorrow for the lives that were lost.”

State authorities have said that at least 19 people were killed after deadly storms ripped through middle Tennessee, including Nashville, early Tuesday. Lee declared a state of emergency in the wake of the storms.

“It’s a vicious thing, those tornadoes, I’ve seen many of them over a three-year period and I’ve gotten to see the results and they are vicious. If you’re in their path, bad things happen,” Trump continued. He added that he and his administration “send our love and our prayers of the nation to every family that was affected.”

“We will get there and we will recover and we will rebuild and we will help them,” Trump told the crowd at the conference, which was being held at the Washington Hilton in the nation’s capital.

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