LINDEN, Tenn. (WKRN) – The National Weather Service confirmed that four tornadoes touched down in Perry, Wayne and Smith/Dekalb counties Wednesday night, killing a married couple.
Antonio Yzaguirre and his 69-year-old wife, Ann, were found dead after the EF-1 tornado, which contained winds of up to 110 mph, destroyed their Perry County home. The couple had recently celebrated their 36th wedding anniversary.
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As many as four homes and a trailer on the Yzaguirre’s street were destroyed by the storms, according to Perry County Sheriff Weems.
“I was really overwhelmed when I saw the damage at daylight,” Sheriff Weems said. “Last night, like you said, you could not see outside your flashlights reach. You can’t really get a good idea of what it looks like. This morning, whenever I come back, I thought ‘man.'”
Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam toured the area Thursday afternoon, taking an ATV to the area where the Yzaguirre’s lived.
“Mattresses to teddy bears, you get a sense of the devastation and our hearts go out to the families of those who lost their lives,” Haslam said.
“You go up there and see, literally, people who walk outside what used to be there home and everything that they work for all their life is scattered down the hill,” he continued.
The governor also told News 2 he met with families who didn’t have insurance. Now the state may ask for federal funds to help them rebuild.
Officials also confirmed an E-F3 tornado ripped through Wayne County late Wednesday night. Winds reached speeds of at least 157 mph.
Lutts Methodist Church and the post office were both destroyed by the tornado.
Don Risner, a letter carrier who works in nearby Collinwood, which is where Lutts residents are getting their mail for the time being, spoke to News 2 on Thursday.
“They had to sort their mail in our post office this morning. Nobody had gotten hurt real bad that we know of,” Risner said.
Cheryl Cole told News 2 she worked out of the Lutts Post Office occasionally, and seeing it destroyed after the storms was overwhelming.
“Seeing sight for first time, it’s really devastating. I was trying to picture in my mind what this was going to look like when I got out here,” Cole explained.
Further east, a 22-year-old man was also killed during the storms in Rhea County, about an hour and a half southeast of Cookeville. His identity has not been released.
The Tennessee Department of Agency (TEMA) has declared a Level III State of Emergency due to the damage and deaths after the storm.