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At least one dead, major damage reported in Tipton County, Tennessee after tornado

So far, one person is confirmed to have died in the area according to the Tipton County Sheriff's Office.

TIPTON COUNTY, Tenn. — On Friday night, damaging storms hit Covington, Tennessee, where Tipton County Schools has confirmed significant damage to Crestview Elementary and Middle Schools as well as the Tipton County Hospital. 

So far, one person is confirmed to have died in the area according to the Tipton County Sheriff's Office.

The Crestview Elementary and Crestview Middle School buildings won't be used for the rest of the school year as 1,200 students have been affected by the storms, according to Tipton County Schools superintendent John Combs.

“If they hadn't let the kids go early, you know, if SACC had still been here, my child would have been one of the many kids in this gym,” said Whitley Williams, “You see it happening everywhere else, you don’t think it could happen to you.”

Students will also not have school next week, and a plan is currently being developed, Combs said.

28 people were injured and sent to local hospitals, according to Tipton County Sheriff Shannon Beasley. The sheriff stated that the tornado was on the ground in Tipton for 170 miles.

Good afternoon! Just wanted to give everyone an update as to where we are and roads that remain closed at this time. We...

Posted by Sheriff Shannon Beasley on Saturday, April 1, 2023

“It demolished, completely devastated hundreds of homes, leveled them, damaged,” said Beasley in a press conference April 1st.

Damage to infrastructure, including power lines, left some roads in Covington impassable on Friday night, according to the Covington Police Department Facebook page.

While the amount of damage is proving to be a lot to handle, several people in the county express a sense of thankfulness. Many choosing to be grateful their families are in one piece, because to them, while buildings can be replaced, lives cannot.

“I’ve got my wife, and we got a four month old newborn baby, and they were safe, they were good, honestly everything else that’s here, it can be replaced,” said a Covington man who lost his home.

Emotions continue to be high in Covington, but leaders are expressing their determination to help the community build itself back up. Support continues to pour in from surrounding counties and areas.

“Our city and county are strong, I know some have lost so much that can’t be replaced, but what can be replaced don’t fear, we will get *gets emotional* we’ll get it done and we’ll get it done together,” said Jan Hensley, Covington Mayor.

Several volunteers helped prepare a shelter at the Covington Sportsplex to house those who lost their homes in the tornado. Other people volunteered in Cobb Parr Park, gathering water, toiletries, baby necessities, non perishable food, snacks, cleaning supplies, gloves, pet food, pet bedding, and dust mask.

Volunteers met at Cobb Parr Park to assist in clean up of the damaged areas. 

Much of the Mid-South was under a rare level 5 out of 5 risk for severe weather on Friday night. The area has not been under a severe weather risk this high since 2011. Strong storms continued to move throughout the Mid-South into the early morning hours of April 1. 

Multiple tornado warnings were issued for parts of Arkansas, Tennessee, and Mississippi. Several tornadoes were visually confirmed by trained spotters. 

In McNairy County, Mayor Larry Smith declared a state of emergency on Saturday. 

"Please keep all responders in your prayers as response continues and we move into recovery from this disaster," a statement from the McNairy County EMA read.

The county EMA also urged the public to be safe when traveling in the county as trees are still down in some areas.

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