Children are among the at least 25 people who have been killed in the devastating tornadoes that ripped through Tennessee early Tuesday morning, officials said.
Authorities in several counties have instituted curfews Tuesday night as they continue to search the rubble of buildings that were destroyed by the tornadoes that brought up to 166-mph winds to the heart of the state.
Officials declined to detail how many victims are children as they continue to identify bodies and notify families.
“This is the saddest and most destructive day in Cookeville, Putnam county history,” said Ricky Shelton, the mayor of Cookeville, one of the hardest-hit areas of by the storms.
“The death, destruction and devastation is literally unbelievable,” he added.
Close to 150 buildings were destroyed in the county alone, where 18 of the deaths have been reported and another 77 are missing, Putnam officials said during a Tuesday evening news conference. About 88 have been injured, including some critically.
President Donald Trump plans to visit the state Friday. Responders in Putnam hope to be wrapping up searches of the damaged buildings by Wednesday night. So far about 60 percent of the destroyed structures have been checked.
Power in the county might be out for several days to “maybe months,” Putnam County Mayor Randy Porter said.
“It’s going to be a major undertaking to replace a lot of the main lines that are down in the area,” Porter said.
Porter added that he believes the county will be able to account for “a lot” of the 77 people who are still reported missing.
“We are resilient,” Shelton said, “and we will get through this together.”
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