Having been several times & knowing what a great city with the kindest, most fun-loving people it is, it was beyond sad to see the terrifying photos & videos and to hear the grim news out of Nashville this morning after severe weather tore through the area. Can only imagine what the people who actually live there are going through...
From The Tennessean:
A powerful storm moved through Middle Tennessee early Tuesday morning, spawning a tornado that ripped through parts of Nashville shortly before 1 a.m.
At least nine people died, including two in east Nashville, state and city officials confirmed early Tuesday morning. Gov. Bill Lee said a number of people are still missing.
And many of the stories coming out sound like the one below… In the middle of the night sirens started blaring & resident's cell phones started buzzing with the weather alert. If they were lucky enough to hear it & wake up, they had only moments to find shelter or take cover as best they could.
David Haskell stood in front of his house at 18th Avenue and Holly Street in East Nashville, tears in his eyes.
"The cell phone saved our lives," he said, facing the front of his yellow house, where the roof had been ripped off and the walls blown to bits.
When the alarm on his phone went off, Haskell and his wife tore open the doors on their storm shelter and ran inside.
"Ten seconds later the house just exploded," he said.
So did nearly every other home on the block. Fifty-foot trees with trunks thicker than several men snapped like toothpicks crashing into the road.
Roofs lifted away. Stone facades crumbled exposing kitchens and couches and dining room chandeliers.
"The house is falling apart as we speak," said Matt Nichols, as he stood in the street. "Dry wall is falling in. It’s just devastation."
In several other stories it was family dogs who hate storms that howled & cried for their owners until they finally got up & heard the alerts, but unfortunately not everyone was so lucky. After the wind subsided more than 40 buildings had collapsed, and volunteers & first responders are still searching through the rubble.
Among the severely damaged buildings was beloved music venue, The Basement East, but the mural on the side was left completely untouched. This didn't go unnoticed by many looking for a small bit of hope among the devastation.. It's especially meaningful if you know the reason "I believe in Nashville" murals like that are in several locations around the city:
A lot of people on social media were commenting about their love for Nashville, shows they saw at the venue with close friends, relief that the staff was ok (they had to take shelter in the basement), and that it's a sign the city will come back full strength.
Another good sign? Facilities around the city are opening up to provide shelter to those displaced & there are tons of reports of people showing up to donate food, water, and supplies, and to give support to those who need it. I also saw individuals posting things like, "I have a chainsaw & a truck, where should I go? Please message me if I can help."
The Bridgestone Arena where the Predators play is giving anyone who stops by pizza & a place to rest, and local staples like Uncle Buds Catfish, Chicken & Such will be heading to the Centennial Sportsplex (which has been activated as a Red Cross location) to serve comfort foods as well.
I'm sure many others are following suit and you can help, too, by checking out some of the links on the tweets below. If you've ever been obnoxious on a boozy pedal bike tour there, or stumbled down Broadway from bar to bar having the time of your life on a bachelor/bachelorette party, consider it the least you can do:
Sending good vibes to everyone in the area & much love to all who were affected. And I hope the mission to get this guy beers succeeds as it picks up steam, and that this dog gets a zillion bones. Odds are good they will in such a big-hearted city…
***Heartbreaking update - The death toll is now at least 19 people from four separate counties across Tennessee.
Click HERE to see how you can help or check out the shirt below: