Tornadoes confirmed in DeKalb, Cumberland Co.; 3 dead - WSMV Channel 4

Tornadoes confirmed in DeKalb, Cumberland Co.; 3 dead

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Sparta, TN (Photo by Billy Jones) Sparta, TN (Photo by Billy Jones)

The National Weather Service confirmed tornadoes touched down Wednesday in DeKalb and Cumberland counties, according to its preliminary findings.

The storms killed three people and damaged dozens of homes in both counties.

Family members of one of three deceased residents have identified the victim as Carolyn Jones, a grandmother who had been married to her husband for more than 50 years.
Her grandson, Spc. Steven Skaggs, a soldier stationed at Fort Campbell, Ky., said Thursday that Carolyn's husband, Harold Jones, was hospitalized with fractured ribs, a black eye and bruises after being rescued from beneath the debris of their brick and wood home following a strong storm that ripped through Cumberland County about 6 p.m.

Thursday afternoon, the body of Josephine Pavone, 62, was recovered from what remained of her Smithville home, which was thrown over a hillside onto a steep and unstable embankment.

And family members have identified the third victim as Melissa Evans of Cumberland County.

Weather service spokeswoman Brittney Whitehead said this appears to be the state's most deadly weather outbreak since 37 people died in tornadoes last April.

According to the weather service, the EF1 tornado, with maximum winds of 110 mph, began near DeKalb County High School and continued east across Center Hill Lake.

And state officials said at least seven homes were destroyed and 50 damaged after an EF2 tornado, with maximum winds of 135 mph, swept across Cumberland County.

Doug Scarlett, an American Red Cross official, says the organization is anticipating some storm victims being left homeless.

He says it's unclear how vast the devastation is because the storms struck just before dark on Wednesday.

The Nashville Chapter of the Red Cross says 12 members are headed to DeKalb County to assist in recovery efforts.  Red Cross volunteers from Knoxville will be helping in Cumberland County.

A shelter was established at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Cumberland County.

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-TN, released a statement Thursday, saying:

"My thoughts and prayers are with those harmed and the friends and family of those killed by yesterday's storm, and I will do everything I can to help. I've been in touch with the governor and members of the Tennessee congressional delegation, and if a request is made for federal disaster assistance, I will support it."

U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-TN, released a statement Thursday, saying:

"Our thoughts and prayers are with all of the families who are experiencing loss today due to the severe weather across Tennessee last night. We are continuing to follow reports of the damage, injuries and tragic fatalities, and I know that local and state officials are working hard to provide support for their citizens. We stand ready to offer any assistance we can."

Other storm damage

Earlier Wednesday, a trained weather spotter reported a tornado eight miles north of Sparta.

Sonny Carter, with the Smith County Emergency Management Agency, reported a strong storm cell that passed through Smith County around 3:45 p.m. He said the county has several trees down and at least one car crushed beneath downed trees.

Also, some Smith County businesses have sustained minor damage, Carter said.

Tyler Smith, Putnam County EMA Director, reports multiple trees blown down in the northwest section of Putnam County.

And Wednesday morning, an unconfirmed tornado was reported near Hopkinsville, KY, in a field by North Sinking Fork Road at 9:58 a.m.

A roof was torn off the South Middle School in Muhlenberg County in Greenville, KY, from a storm that hit the area around 8:49 a.m., according to the local 911 director. A dance studio and several homes also sustained damage. No injuries were reported.

A cattle barn on Highway 91 North at Princeton Road was damaged by the storm, according to Emergency Management Director Randy Graham.

Copyright WSMV 2012 (Meredith Corporation). The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.




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