NWS: EF-4 tornado hit Putnam County
The National Weather Service said at least an EF-4 tornado hit Putnam County.
In a message to WVLT Meteorologist Ben Cathey, Krissy Hurley with the National Weather Service said, "We have at least an EF-3, but we’re trying to determine whether it’s stronger." Later officials confirmed it was an EF-4 with winds at least 175 miles per hour.
The head of the survey team said crews were talking to structural engineers to determine whether the tornado should be classified as an EF-4.
Officials said the tornado touched down in Putnam County around 2 a.m. Tuesday, between the city limits of Cookeville and Baxter. At least 18 people were killed and at least 88 injured. Officials said some of those injuries were critical, and some people were transported to hospitals in Nashville.
and said five children were among the dead.
Mayor Randy Porter said a special morgue for tornado victims has been set up. Anyone looking for a family member is asked to call 931-646-INFO. Anyone needing help is asked to call 646-HELP.
Emergency shelters are currently established at the Cookeville Community Center, Putnam County YMCA, and Cookeville First Baptist Church.
Anyone who is searching for a displaced family member should go to The Church on the Hill at 3001 Phillips Cemetery Rd.
According to the sheriff's office, the worst-hit areas included:
- Charleton Square
- Plunk Whitson
- Echo Valley
- Prosperity Point
- N. McBroom Chapel
- Double Springs Utility District
Sheriff Eddie Farris said several homes were "flattened."
First responders went door to door to check on residents. They asked everyone to keep the roadways clear while they provided first aid and worked on clearing the roads.