published Thursday, March 1st, 2012

Red Cross to set up shelters for tornado victims in Tennessee

People sit inside a destroyed house today north of Crossville, Tenn., near where a woman was killed during a tornado Wednesday night.
People sit inside a destroyed house today north of Crossville, Tenn., near where a woman was killed during a tornado Wednesday night.
Photo by John Rawlston.
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A National Weather Service spokeswoman said survey teams would head out this morning to evaluate the storm damage in Cumberland County and determine if tornadoes touched down.

Brittney Whitehead of Nashville said the teams would be able to gather better information in the daylight hours.

Meanwhile, Doug Scarlett of the Cumberland County American Red Cross said a shelter was being set up in anticipation of some victims being left homeless.

“We have no idea what the damage is because [to storms] happened just before dark,” he said.

Powerful storm cells claimed at least three lives as winds tore roofs from buildings and toppled trees while crossing Tennessee on Wednesday evening, part of a massive weather system blamed for death and destruction earlier in the day in the Midwest, authorities said.

Two women died in Tennessee’s Cumberland County and the third in DeKalb County, emergency officials said.

It appeared to be the most deadly weather outbreak in Tennessee since 37 persons died in tornadoes last April 27-28.

Seven homes were destroyed and about 50 damaged in Cumberland County, said Jill Lewis of the county Emergency Management Agency. Emergency crews worked to extricate injured people trapped inside homes.

Read more in tomorrow’s Times Free Press.

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