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People in Tennessee found themselves in a “very hazardous situation” Saturday after an estimated 15 to 18 tornadoes struck the state between Friday night and Saturday morning, according to a report.
While avoiding the dozens of fatalities feared in neighboring Kentucky, Tennessee still saw at least four deaths across Lake, Obion and Shelby counties, FOX 17 of Nashville reported.
Hundreds of Tennessee homes were affected by the severe weather, a spokesman for the Cheatham County Sheriff’s Office told the station.
“It’s shocking. … It’s a testament of faith,” Lt. Ken Miller said as crews were working nearby to clear debris in a Cheatham County town. He described the condition of local communities as a “very hazardous situation.”
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At least one tornado that hit the state appeared to travel along state Highway 70, east of Knoxville, Miller said.
Aerial view of tornado damage in western Tennessee, Dec. 11, 2021. (Gov. Bill Lee via Twitter)
One elderly woman suffered serious injuries after being pinned under her mobile home when it fell on top of her as she was trying to leave, Miller said, according to FOX 17.
Miller said authorities were not yet requesting help from volunteers as they continued responding to calls for assistance. He said the Tennessee Highway Patrol would be stepping up patrols to prevent looting and to check on the safety of properties.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee toured hard-hit areas Saturday, acknowledging “a very difficult day for many of our neighbors,” the Tennessean newspaper of Nashville reported.
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Lee said he spoke with President Biden about the state’s troubles and was pursuing federal relief funds, according to the newspaper. The governor’s tour included stops in Tiptonville, Dresden and Dickson County, the report said.
“We’re reminded that in just a moment, lives are lost, livelihoods are lost, and lives are changed forever,” Lee told the Tennessean. “We had an immediate response from law enforcement and first responders across the state. There is a great deal of hope amid real devastation.”
More than 60,000 residents were without electricity Saturday night, mostly in Davidson County, the newspaper reported.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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