President Donald Trump announced he will be visiting Tennessee after tornadoes ripped across the state, including Nashville, early on Tuesday morning, leaving at least 25 people dead and flattening about 40 buildings.
“Prayers for all of those affected by the devastating tornadoes in Tennessee. We will continue to monitor the developments. The Federal Government is with you all of the way during this difficult time,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
Later on Tuesday, the president told a crowd that he is planning to visit the state on Friday, adding that FEMA officials are already on the ground in Tennessee.
“Our hearts are full of sorrow,” Trump said, “for the lives that were lost” in the tornadoes. “They are vicious. If you’re in their path, bad things happen,” he said.
“Last night was a reminder about how fragile life is,” said Nashville Mayor John Cooper during a Tuesday morning news conference. The state’s emergency management agency also declared a state of emergency in the wake of the deaths and destruction.
Gov. Bill Lee, in a Tuesday press conference, said that the state “will expand that response as the day unfolds,” confirming that a state of emergency was activated. “Don’t go near where the damage is. You don’t need to go there,” Lee said, adding that he is aware of reports that a number of people are still missing.
The tornadoes were spawned as part of a line of storms and severe weather that stretched from the southern United States to Pennsylvania, according to maps provided by the National Weather Service.
Local and state officials told Fox that tornadoes slammed into several areas around Nashville, including Putnam County, Wilson County, Benton County, and Davidson County.
Metro Nashville Public Schools announced that schools will be closed down on Tuesday due to the damage. Wilson County schools also announced closures for the remainder of the week, according to Twitter posts from local officials.
Police in Mt. Juliet, meanwhile, told residents to stay inside after a tornado struck.
Below is an estimated illustration of the tornado damage path through the city limits: pic.twitter.com/GUwbK8dc11
— Mt. Juliet Police (@MtJulietPolice) March 3, 2020
“Our community has been impacted significantly,” the Mt. Juliet Police Department wrote Tuesday, adding that a number of homes were damaged and injuries were reported. “We continue to search for injured. Stay home if you can.”
The department also posted a map that appeared to show the damage that was wrought by the tornado.