Six people are dead and dozens injured after tornadoes struck Nashville and the Tennessee town of Clarksville early Saturday evening, officials said.
The dead in Clarksville include two adults and one child, according to a statement from Michelle Newell, spokesperson for Montgomery County, where the town is located.
Another 23 people from Clarksville were taken to hospitals, she said.
The Nashville Office of Emergency Management said three people also died in a northern community of the city along Nesbitt Lane. It reported “severe damage” in the area and asked residents to avoid it as well as downed power lines.
Thirteen people were injured in a church collapse roughly 9 miles north of downtown Nashville, and were stabilized after being taken to hospitals, the office said.
The office said that around 4 p.m. a National Weather Service radar had suggested a “large and extremely dangerous tornado” was spinning about 30 miles west of Nashville and headed east at 40 mph.
“This was considered a particularly dangerous situation,” it said.
Nashville Mayor Freddie O’Connell declared a state of emergency late Saturday and urged people to stay away from areas with significant damage, including the community of Madison, the city’s “hardest-hit” area, the statement said.
The declaration was preceded by one from Clarksville Mayor Joe Pitts, who also enacted a 9 p.m. curfew Saturday and Sunday “for the health, safety, and welfare of the community,” he said in a separate statement.
“This is a sad day for our community,” Montgomery County Mayor Wes Golden said in the statement. “We are praying for those who are injured, lost loved ones, and lost their homes. This community pulls together like no other and we will be here until the end.”
The numbers could change, officials said, as authorities continued to search for survivors into the night.
Multiple tornadoes were reported across Tennessee on Saturday.
Authorities in Weakley County, in the northeast of the state, reported residents trapped and homes damaged following an apparent tornado there.
A tornado in Gibson County, northeast of Memphis, caused “significant damage” to homes and downed power lines and trees, county Sheriff Paul Thomas said.
In the town of Rutherford, resident Ethan Goad said the local fire station was destroyed and “everyone around me was freaking out.”
Cindy Walls of the Gibson County Fire Department confirmed damage to the station in Rutherford and to other structures in the town.
“We have damage to homes, barns and other structures as well,” she said.
Thomas said the reported tornado caused “significant damage” to structures.
Gov. Bill Lee said on social media platform X that he and wife Maria “are praying for all Tennesseans who have been impacted by the tornadoes that swept through the state this evening.”
More than 50,000 utility customers statewide were in the dark overnight, with outages concentrated in Middle Tennessee, according to poweroutage.us.
The National Weather Service confirmed at least one tornado in Clarksville. Images from the city show structures reduced to twisted piles of wood and trees on the wet ground.
Other reported tornadoes were not officially confirmed by the weather service but were being considered as likely, a weather service forecaster in Nashville said.
The weather service normally deploys next-day observers to confirm a tornado by measuring its track and documenting damage.
The tornadoes were the result of warm, wet Gulf Coast air colliding with cold air from the north and moving along a front that’s headed east, forecasters said.
This article was originally published on NBCNews.com