March 5, 2020— Deadly tornadoes roared through Middle Tennessee in the early hours of Tuesday morning. The storms left a path of destruction 50 miles long across Davidson, Wilson and Smith counties. A larger, more intense tornado continued and caused extensive damage in Putnam County where winds reached 175 mph. At this time, 25 people are confirmed dead with dozens missing and thousands displaced from their homes and businesses.
TVA crews began assessing damage and safely restoring delivery points with our local power companies almost immediately. At first count, 38 high-voltage electrical transmission towers were damaged with 17 lines down, including one across Interstate 40 in Wilson County, four across other roads and three lines down across the Cumberland River. Navigation on the river remains closed as TVA works to remove the lines from the water.
Almost all electrical delivery points with the local power companies were restored within a matter of hours. TVA crews continue working with local power companies to repair hundreds of broken poles and downed lines to restore power to their customers. Thousands remain without power across Middle Tennessee.
“We appreciate all the TVA and local power company employees who are on the ground working on restoration efforts,” said Doug Bailey, vice president of Field Operations. “As always, even as we work to restore power to affected areas, our overriding priority is the safety of our people, our partners and the public we serve.”
As the recovery and restoration efforts continue to the transmission infrastructure, TVA employees are turning their attention to helping those in need. Teams of TVA employees are gathering resources to support disaster relief efforts and will be volunteering in affected communities.
“We want our neighbors across Middle Tennessee to know that they are not alone, and TVA and its staff will be there as their communities begin to recover from this tragic event,” said Jeannette Mills, TVA Executive Vice President and Chief External Relations Officer. “TVA employees’ immediate response asking how they can help really shows that their spirit of service to the people of the Tennessee Valley extends well beyond work hours.”
Safety is the center of all we do at TVA and natural disasters are a reminder that the best defense is often a good offense. We encourage the 10 million people we serve across the Valley to review their family’s plans in the event of a tornado or other natural disaster.