After a tornado caused severe damage in Nashville and surrounding areas, the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency declared a Level 3 state of emergency.
TEMA said multiple fatalities have been reported but the exact number is not known at this time. WBIR's affiliate station in Nashville, WSMV, reported that authorities in Middle Tennessee have confirmed at least 8 fatalities.
TEMA's website has a description of Level 3 alerts, which occur during serious emergencies or minor disasters:
"The Tennessee Emergency Management Plan (TEMP) is activated and a state of emergency is automatically declared per TCA 58-2-107. Key or specifically needed emergency service coordinators for state departments are recalled to duty the State's Emergency Operations Center."
A line of storms swept through Tennessee, affecting several East Tennessee counties with heavy rain and winds Tuesday morning.
TEMA said the storms have caused severe damage to buildings, roads, bridges, businesses and utilities in West and Middle Tennessee. WSMV reported heavy damage in the downtown Nashville area.
TEMA said it has activated the Tennessee Emergency Management Plan (TEMP) with an "all-hands response" from state emergency officials.