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At least six people died after deadly tornadoes swept Tennessee

AYESHA RASCOE, HOST:

Tornadoes tore through middle Tennessee yesterday. Two adults and one child were killed in Clarksville, and three more people were killed in Nashville. There were also dozens of injuries. We're joined now by LaTonya Turner of member station WPLN in Nashville. Good morning, LaTonya.

LATONYA TURNER, BYLINE: Good morning, Ayesha.

RASCOE: We saw deadly tornadoes two years ago in Tennessee, which passed into Kentucky. Now another terrible December outbreak - can you give us a sense of the scope and intensity of last night's storms?

TURNER: Yes, you're absolutely right. This is the anniversary of that storm two years ago. Now that the sun is up here, it's really clear how widespread the devastation is from these storms. The National Weather Service is reporting collapsed buildings, downed power lines, uprooted trees and flipped vehicles. And this storm spawned multiple tornadoes that touched down across nearly 100 miles, starting west of Nashville, traveling northeast across a half-dozen counties. As of this morning, there are still about 40,000 customers without power and six deaths and dozens of injuries, as you mentioned.

RASCOE: So what do we know about the six people who were killed?

TURNER: In Clarksville, which is about an hour northwest of Nashville near the Kentucky line, two adults and one child were killed. We don't know much yet about those fatalities, but we've seen photos and videos of how those homes were torn apart. In Nashville, two adults and one child died when police say the tornado blew over a mobile home and caused it to roll on top of a neighboring home. A 37-year-old man who was inside the trailer died. His son survived. Next door, the house that the trailer landed on, a 31-year-old woman and her 2-year-old son were killed. Our reporter was able to get to that street, which is Nesbitt Lane in Madison, a community in Nashville where she saw roofs blown off homes and a lot of downed trees and power lines.

RASCOE: These tornadoes also went through busy suburban areas where there's a lot of damage but no loss of life. What have you learned about these areas?

TURNER: That's right. Another hard-hit city is Hendersonville, which is to the northeast of Nashville. An emergency was declared there because of the damage, including many businesses. Our reporter Paige Pfleger talked with employees of a Mexican restaurant that was in the storm's path. Edith Gonzalez had this to say.

EDITH GONZALES: We were all hiding back there. So there was only the sound of wind just coming through, the shatter of the glass falling to the floor and against the Christmas tree.

PAIGE PFLEGER, BYLINE: You had a Christmas tree?

GONZALEZ: Yeah. There's a whole Christmas tree right here on the ground. We believe that's what stopped the glass from flying all the way in.

TURNER: The restaurant lost its windows and part of its roof, but thankfully, no one was injured.

RASCOE: That's news editor LaTonya Turner of member station WPLN in Nashville. LaTonya, thank you so much.

TURNER: Thank you, Ayesha. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Ayesha Rascoe is a White House correspondent for NPR. She is currently covering her third presidential administration. Rascoe's White House coverage has included a number of high profile foreign trips, including President Trump's 2019 summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi, Vietnam, and President Obama's final NATO summit in Warsaw, Poland in 2016. As a part of the White House team, she's also a regular on the NPR Politics Podcast.