Storm Hits Hard in Middle TN, One Death Reported

9:27 AM, Jan 30, 2013   |    comments
A Tractor Trailer Blown Over By Severe Weather in Mt. Juliet, TN (by Shelley Mays/The Tennessean)
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The (Nashville, TN) Tennessean

Mike Cornett, 50, of Richmond, Ky. was sleeping in the cab of his 18-wheeler behind Hardee's restaurant on Lebanon Road in Mt. Juliet when the storm hit.

A weather alert on his phone woke him.

"I could feel the truck shake one time and I knew it was going over,'' Cornett said. "It was like falling off a cliff.''

He was not hurt.


Calvin Williams was on his way to work at the Hardee's restaurant on Lebanon Road in Mt. Juliet when he saw the wind blowing debris into the road.

Suddenly, he saw a couch near his vehicle.

"This may sound funny but it was keeping up with me,'' Williams said.


Severe weather ravaged The Tennessean's Mt. Juliet distribution center off of Lebanon Road Wednesday morning.

Employees on the scene reported a tornado hit the building at about 4 a.m. No one was injured.

Winds ripped the roof off of the building, moved cars around the parking lot and knocked down walls, according to Jay Winkler of The Tennessean.

Ashland City

Authorities in Ashland City said they believe a tornado touched down there, damaging 25 homes.

"We could see the (tornado's) path, probably 100 yards wide," Ashland City Fire Chief Chuck Walker said. 

Ten of the damaged homes cannot be occupied, he said. One home was crushed by a 60-foot oak tree.

The storm also damaged a retirement community, tearing shingles from the roof and caving in a portion of drywall.

One girl was injured, Walker said. She had been sleeping near a window that shattered and cut her. She was treated and released from a local hospital.

About 3,000 people in Cheatham County are without power, mostly in the southern part of county, according to Edwin Hogan, director of Cheatham County emergency management.

A number of roads blocked, Hogan said.

Williamson County

No injuries have been reported in Williamson County, according to emergency management director Mac Purdy.

Power outages and sporadic reports of downed trees and damaged houses have been reported along Liberty Pike in Franklin and elsewhere.

"I estimate there will be more damage reported as people get up and the sun starts to come up," Purdy said.

Rutherford County

In Rutherford County, inmates are clearing debris and trees left from the storm Wednesday morning in Eagleville where several houses were damaged, said Sheriff Robert Arnold.

The storm damaged the home of Eagleville Mayor Sam Tune on Allisona Road, another occupied home on North Main Street and a home on Elm Street. No one suffered injuries.

The storm downed trees all over the county, including several trees on Powell's Chapel Road.

Sheriff Arnold said the Detention Center inmates will clear trees in Eagleville, then move to other locations in the county to remove the trees and debris.

Storm-Related Death

The man killed this morning in the storm has been identified as Vernon Eugene Hartsell, 47. Hartsell was killed when a tree fell on the shed he was trapped in during the storm.

Earlier Reports

Severe storms ripped through Middle Tennessee overnight, and experts say several tornadoes could have struck, but the worst is over.


Winds reached a peak of 64 miles per hour at Nashville's airport, according to Bobby Boyd, meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

Radars showed several possible tornadoes, but Boyd said the NWS would have to investigate before touchdowns were confirmed.

Damage has been reported across the state, Boyd said, including a flipped tractor trailer on Lebanon Road in Mt. Juliet and four homes with roof and window damage in Sumner County, and reports indicate a garage near a Middle Tennessee home blew into the street.

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