"I’m just heartbroken," actress Reese Witherspoon shared, as new reports say the death toll has risen to 19

By Claudia Harmata
March 03, 2020 12:08 PM
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As the country woke up to the news that multiple deadly tornadoes tore through central Tennessee early Tuesday morning, several celebrities and organizations across the United States shared messages of support for the affected community.

“Praying for everyone in Nashville and Middle Tennessee dealing with the aftermath of last night’s tornado,” actress Reese Witherspoon shared on Twitter. “I’m just heartbroken and saying special prayers for the families who lost loved ones. Please stay safe.”

“Thinking of Nashville and everyone in Tennessee recovering from last night’s devastating tornadoes, especially those who have lost loved ones,” Apple CEO Tim Cook tweeted. “Thank you to the first responders—please stay safe.”

The devastating twisters flattened buildings — about 40 in downtown Nashville alone — took out utility poles, destroyed roads and have left several people dead.

The death toll has now climbed to at least 19, with authorities continuing to search wrecked buildings for survivors, according to the Associated Press.

Dia Dipasupil/Getty; George Pimentel/WireImage); Allen Berezovsky/Getty

“Nashville is hurting, and our community has been devastated,” Nashville’s mayor John Cooper wrote on Twitter. “My heart goes out to those who have lost loved ones. Be sure to lend a helping hand to a neighbor in need, and let’s come together as a community once more. Together, we will get through this and come out stronger.”

He later told reporters in a news conference, “Last night was a reminder about how fragile life is.”

Record executive Scooter Braun — who has represented country music stars like Dan + Shay (Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney) and the Zac Brown Band — shared a message of support for the city, writing, “Prayers going out to all those affected in Nashville this morning.”

Smyers and Mooney also mourned the devastation on Twitter. “East Nashville,” they wrote with a heartbroken emoji.

“I’m heartsick for the victims and their families. Stay strong, Nashville. You’re in our hearts today,” Democratic presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren wrote.

Tennessee is one of 14 Super Tuesday states. USA Today reports that some polling sites in Nashville have been moved, and voting locations across Davidson County and Wilson County would be opening an hour late but still closing at the same time.

Country music star Dierks Bentley shared footage of the storm that would later turn into the deadly twisters, taken from his flight that landed before the tornadoes hit.

“We ducked around this cell and landed at john tune airport around 11:30 last night. Glad we landed when we did. Wouldn’t have been good an hour later. It was the cell that turned into the tornado,” he wrote. “Lot of people lost their homes. No one comes together as a city like Nashville does.”

Fellow country star Carrie Underwood appeared on the Today show Tuesday morning while in New York City promoting her new book, and revealed that her husband, Mike Fisher, had gathered their two sons young sons Isaiah, 5, and Jacob, 1, and took them to safety.

“I’m like texting people I know, and I’m like asking my husband if everybody’s good,” Underwood said. “He said he had to go upstairs at like 2 a.m. and grab the boys and take them down to a little safe room in our house.”

The View co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck, who has called Nashville home for the last five years, shared an emotional note on Instagram, recalling the “scary night of sirens.”

“Pray for Our city of NASHVILLE – A scary night of sirens and a sunrise that revealed the damage of this deadly tornado. Heavy hearted ? today for the destruction that does not seem as though it can be real, for the families who have lost so much- for the children who should never have to see their school destroyed, for families and friends who grieve today- as we are holding onto hope and give thanks that this amazing city will surround, pray and rebuild hearts and homes by the power of God, that this community we have loved and been rooted in for the past 5 years knows precisely how to lean in and love so well,” she wrote. “Thankful for leadership in this city and state, thankful for the heart of service and updates on supplies needed at various shelter locations in #nashvilleand ready to help in this city that WILL have its strength renewed #NashvilleStrong ❤️?? WE #believeinnashville ❤️??.”

Reba McEntire, who also lives in Nashville, assured her fans that she was safe.

“My heart, thoughts and prayers go out to everyone in the Nashville area affected by the tornado last night. Even if the tornado didn’t hit our personal space, we are all affected because we are Nashvillians,” she shared on Instagram. “My heart hurts for Nashville this morning. #sendingprayers”

President Donald Trump also shared a message of support for the community, seemingly offering up aid from the federal government.

“Prayers for all of those affected by the devastating tornadoes in Tennessee. We will continue to monitor the developments,” he shared. “The Federal Government is with you all of the way during this difficult time.”

While there continues to be an outpouring of support across social media, authorities are still assessing the jarring damage left behind, and the National Weather Service has yet to classify the intensity of the twisters.