19 people were killed when a pair of tornadoes touched down in Tennessee overnight Monday, CNN reported. The number of victims is as of 10a.m.
The tornadoes struck shortly after midnight. One of the twisters caused extensive damage in downtown Nashville.
The Nashville Fire Department said at least 40 buildings in the city had collapsed as a result of the high winds and heavy rain, and local authorities urged residents not to leave their homes so as not to be hit by objects flying in the high winds.
The John C. Tune airport, considered to be Nashville's smaller airport, said in its Twitter account that significant runway damage had occurred and that some hangars and power poles had collapsed as a result of the winds. The city's international airport was not struck by a tornado.
The high winds also caused the collapse of many electricity poles in the city, and at least 44,000 people remained without electricity Tuesday morning
"The entire downtown Nashville is completely destroyed," tweeted Chris Conte, a local reporter. Photos showed many shops with shattered glass, and wrecked vehicles downtown. The city's schools also closed and the students remained in their homes.
US President Donald Trump offered his condolences to the victims and their families.
"Prayers for all of those affected by the devastating tornadoes in Tennessee. We will continue to monitor the developments. The Federal Government is with you all of the way during this difficult time," Trump wrote in a tweet.
Voting for the 'Super Tuesday' primaries was delayed one hour in Davidson and Wilson counties as a result of the tornadoes.