Tenn. Emergency Management Report Confirms 31 Storm Fatalities

February 7, 2008

Tennessee experienced at least two waves of severe weather Tuesday that ranged from high-winds and hail to deadly tornadoes.

As of 7:15 p.m. Wednesday, the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency is reporting 31 confirmed fatalities related to the storm activity. Those deaths, recorded by the Tennessee Department of Health, occurred in the following counties: Shelby, Fayette, Hardin, Macon, Madison, Sumner and Trousdale. More than 149 people have been reported as being injured and one person is presumed missing.

The State Emergency Operations Center in Nashville was activated by TEMA’s Director James Bassham at 6:30 p.m.Tuesday CST, as the storms began a deadly march across the state from Memphis through Middle Tennessee.

The storm caused several crashes, but the most severe was located West of Jackson, Tenn., on Interstate 40. These crashes, which involved more than 25 tractor-trailers, temporarily closed the highway in both directions.

In Memphis, the storm released more than 120,000 lbs. of anhydrous ammonia when a tank was ruptured at the Hardy Bottling Co. on East Rains. This release to the atmosphere poses no risk to the public.

At Union University in Madison Co., 16 students were temporarily trapped in a dormitory after it was struck by a tornado. More than 30 people were transported to the Jackson-Madison Hospital.

A fire from a natural gas pipeline at the Columbia Gulf Transmission Co. facility in Hartsville, Tenn., was highly visible for much of the night. The fire, which has now burned out, reports indicated flames at one time reaching as high as 400 to 500 feet into the air due to the pressurized nature of the long-distance transmission pipeline.

Source: Tennessee Emergency Management Agency

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