Tornadoes killed several people in middle Tennessee overnight, including in the Nashville area.
The storms hit mostly between 1 and 2 a.m. CST. The National Weather Service (NWS) issued tornado warnings for parts of Davidson, Wilson and Sumner counties.
According to police reports, some of the worst damage is in the Germantown neighborhood in northwest Nashville, and to the east of the city in Mt. Juliet in Wilson County. The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) said late this morning that almost 17,700 customers in Wilson County had no electricity, and around 48,000 had no power in Davidson County, which includes Nashville. TEMA officials also said the tornadoes have killed 22 people.
The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) tweeted around 9:45 a.m. today that Interstate 40 was “still a mess” in Wilson County, and westbound lanes remain closed at mile marker 229 due to downed power lines. Officials said it could take until early afternoon to clear the debris. Westbound lanes of the highway are closed at mile marker 232 due to downed power lines and an overturned tractor-trailer. TDOT said this should be cleared by 2 p.m.
Just down the road, four to six tractor-trailers were overturned heading westbound on I-40 between mile markers 243 and 245, with an estimated clearance time of 11 a.m. This may have been due to wet roads and/or storm debris.
NWS meteorologists from the Nashville office told FreightWaves they will assess the damage today to determine the strengths and path lengths of the tornadoes.
According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, I-40 is one of the busiest corridors for freight movement across the U.S. The Bureau’s latest long-haul truck traffic report (2015) showed that an average of 10,000 trucks per day came through the Nashville metropolitan area.
Fortunately, severe thunderstorm and tornado threats should stay well south of Nashville over the next few days.
Another part of the country dealing with significant weather-related road closures is in Wyoming. Sections of I-80 are still closed in the south-central part of the state due to major crashes that happened during a snowstorm on March 1. Tractor-trailers were involved in these crashes, and crews are still clearing debris. Troopers are still investigating the crashes in which three people died. The interstate remains closed in both directions around mileposts 181 and 184, according to the Wyoming Highway Patrol. Troopers hope to reopen these lanes sometime this afternoon.
In addition, Wyoming DOT officials said the eastbound lanes of I-80 are closed from Cheyenne to Laramie – about a 50-mile stretch – due to very strong winds, blowing snow and very low visibility.
Have a great day, and be careful out there!