Governor announces state of emergency for storm damage in Tennessee, 3 dead


Destruction at the Lutts, Tennessee, post office on Highway 230. Photo credit: Shane Hays/WHNT Photojournalist

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NASHVILLE, Tn. –  The National Weather Service confirmed at least two tornadoes touched down in southern Middle Tennessee on Wednesday. Gov, Bill Haslam has issued a “Level III State of Emergency.” He says that will make it easier for storm victims to get state aid.

NWS preliminary storm results confirm that an EF1 tornado struck Perry County, where two people were killed. In the Lutts community in southern Wayne County, a EF3 tornado struck and destroyed several buildings, including the Lutts Post Office.

The damage in the gallery above is mainly from the Lutts, Tenn. area.

Haslam is visiting Perry County on Thursday afternoon, including the area where Antonio Gomez Yzaguirre and Ann Yzaguirre were killed.

The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency confirmed three people had died in Tennessee. The third death was a 22-year-old male in Rhea County who died after a roadway was swept away by flood waters.

Haslam approved the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency’s recommendation to go to a Level III State of Emergency.

The National Weather Service said preliminary data indicated that four tornadoes touched down in Middle Tennessee, two in Wayne County, one in Perry County and one near the Smith/DeKalb County line.

Two people were killed in Perry County in Wednesday night’s storm, interim Sheriff Nick Weems confirmed.

Authorities said Antonio Gomez Yzaguirre, 70, and his wife Ann Yzaguirre, 69, were killed in the 6000 block of Highway 412 East. Authorities said the couple just celebrated their 36th wedding anniversary.

“They’re trapped in some debris,” Weems said. “We got rescue members out here trying to pull them out. It took us a little bit to cut our way into them. It’s very, very bad in this area. It got hit really hard.”

Weems added that a camper trailer was unaccounted for.

“Somebody does live in that, but we don’t know if he was in it or not,” he said.

First Christian Church in Linden is a collection point for items to help the victims of the storm in Perry County.

Heavy damage and several injuries were also reported after storms moved across the Midstate on Wednesday night.

Wayne County Sheriff Rick Wilson told Channel 4 that several people were transported to the hospital with injuries. Wilson also said people were trapped in a storm shelter with a tree on top of it.

“In Lutts, a lot of damage, some people trapped in a mobile home, some people trapped in a storm shelter, and houses and structural damage,” Wilson said. “We have a lot of injuries and we’re dispatching ambulances there now.”

Multiple homes were damaged and the post office in Lutts, TN, was destroyed, Wilson said.

“The post office, according to our preliminary reports, was destroyed,” Wilson said.

The U.S. Postal Service said customers could pick up mail at the Collinwood Post Office.

In Hickman County, the sheriff said the area near Upper Cane Creek Road was hit hard. He said that area is covered with trees that have come down and crews are having trouble getting to the area.

Damage and downed trees were reported in several other counties across the state. The state has activated the Tennessee Emergency Management Plan.

No widespread power outages have been reported, but officials said some localized outages have been reported.

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