TN suburbs battered; more storms rake South

Twelve people are dead in Tennessee after tornadoes ripped through the state for the second time in less than a week.

BY SUSAN KIM | BALTIMORE | April 8, 2006

Twelve people are dead in Tennessee after tornadoes ripped through the state for the second time in less than a week.

Suburbs northeast of Nashville bore the brunt of Friday's storms. The hardest hit areas appeared to be within a 90-mile radius of Nashville, confirmed the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Nine people were killed in Sumner County. Another three lost their lives in Warren County, which is about an hour southeast of Nashville. At least 60 people were injured, nine of them critically. The upscale neighborhood of Gallatin, some 20 miles northeast of Nashville, was nearly leveled.

Preliminary estimates show 900 homes in Sumner County and another 700 in Warren County were damaged or destroyed.

Severe storms also hit Kentucky, Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi. A tornado touched down in southern Kentucky, destroying or damaging dozens of mobile homes. The Atlanta suburbs reported damage from a possible tornado by Saturday morning. Residential damage was reported in Cobb, Fulton, Gwinnett and Hall counties, but firm assessment numbers were unavailable. In Alabama, the Birmingham area also reported some residential damage.

The Salvation Army was offering immediate emergency relief in storm-struck areas. Several faith-based disaster response groups were also ready to send out cleanup teams as soon as roads were accessible. Volunteers who want to help were urged to refrain from traveling to devastated areas until they affiliate themselves with a group and find out about specific needs.

One of the best responses is prayer, pointed out the Rev. Jason Brock, disaster response coordinator for the Tennessee Conference of the United Methodist Church. "Please keep in your prayers the many communities...who've suffered loss of life and property," he wrote. "Emergency personnel will continue to secure these areas today because of safety hazards and shelters are open for those who need immediate shelter and assistance."

National faith-based disaster response groups were raising money and coordinating plans to support long-term recovery as tornado survivors try to rebuild their homes and their lives.

Friday's spate of tornadoes is the second to hit Tennessee in less than a week. This most recent severe weather comes on the heels of last weekend's violent storms that killed 24 people in western Tennessee and four people in Missouri and Illinois.

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