2023 sees most tornado deaths in America since 2011

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Monday, December 11, 2023
Tornado deaths: 2023 sees most since 2011
2023 has seen more deadly tornadoes than any year since 2011, which was an outlier that saw 550 people die in more than 50 twisters

At least 26 deadly tornadoes have hit the United States so far in 2023.

That's the most seen in a single year since 2011. Although that year saw more than 550 people die in more than 50 tornadoes.

This year, 82 people have lost their lives because of tornadoes. The average of deaths per year over the last 30 years is 71.

SEE ALSO: EF-1 tornado damages property, spares life in North Carolina

Twelve different states have seen deadly tornadoes this year, with Mississippi seeing the most fatalities with 24 followed by Tennessee with 16.

Tennessee also saw the most recent deadly tornado outbreak, with more than a dozen twisters hitting the Volunteer State over the weekend, killing six people.

Six people died and at least 36 others were injured Saturday after severe tornadoes touched down in parts of Tennessee, officials said.

'Whole houses that are just gone'

Thirteen tornadoes struck the state Saturday, the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency said in a preliminary report.

Rex Stockton told CNN affiliate WSMV the roof of his Clarksville home was blown off in the storm. He went outside after the storm passed to inspect the damage and saw his neighborhood had been devastated.

"There were whole houses that are just gone," he said.

Stockton and his wife, a local nurse, began helping their neighbors alongside other good Samaritans. They could hear cries for help in the debris, he said, and managed to help some people.

"She was able to do some CPR, but she was not alone," Stockton told WSMV, calling the experience "traumatic" but noting he and his wife were "fortunate."

"There were medics. People were just coming from everywhere to help and they were able to do what they could," he said.

"We have teams assessing damage and looking for patients," the Nashville Office of Emergency Management said on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.

Images showed severe damage in the area where the deaths were reported, with heavy debris covering a car.

At least two tornadoes - each described as large and dangerous - were confirmed Saturday afternoon, including one in Montgomery County and another near the Gibson County town of Rutherford, the National Weather Service said.

Two dozen tornado reports poured in across five states in the South during Saturday's event. The National Weather Service will survey the areas to determine the exact number of tornadoes. The tornado outbreak was spawned by a sprawling storm system that brought adverse weather to more than 1,200 miles of the eastern United States from the Gulf Coast to the Canadian border on Saturday - with more bad weather on the way Sunday.

"Today a storm turned the world upside down for many in our community," said Freddie O'Connell, mayor of Nashville and Davidson County.

Around 100 military families lost their homes in the tornado that struck hard-hit Clarksville, Fort Campbell Garrison Commander Col. Christopher Midberry said at a Sunday news conference.

Midberry said the families lived outside Fort Campbell, a US Army installation along the Kentucky-Tennessee border approximately 13 miles from Clarksville.

The mayor declared a state of emergency for the area, where he said first responders were still working to get to hard-to-reach areas.

He urged residents to stay out of the affected areas and call the Red Cross if they've been displaced.

"There's a long road of healing and recovery ahead for many of our neighbors," O'Connell said.

"Significant damage" from a tornado was also reported in the Tennessee cities of Gallatin and Hendersonville, northeast of Nashville, according to a joint statement from the communities' mayors.

"It is of paramount importance that citizens stay off of the roads and allow first responders and utility crews to respond," the officials said.

Officials in Clarksville said nearly 300 structures suffered major damage after Saturday's deadly tornado, and most of the damaged or destroyed structures were residences.

The City of Clarksville said on its Facebook page the Montgomery County Emergency Management Agency reported 65 structures suffered minor damage and 339 others had moderate damage.

Officials said 271 structures are "uninhabitable" after suffering "major damage," and the agency also found during its assessment 91 structures "are totally destroyed."

The CNNWire contributed to this report.