PUTNAM COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — Putnam County officials spoke Wednesday afternoon about the ongoing search and recovery efforts going on after an EF-4 tornado went through the area early Tuesday.
According to Putnam County Mayor Randy Porter, the first search of the damaged area has been completed and approximately 90 percent of the second search area is done and should be completed by Thursday afternoon.
The number of missing persons in the county has been reduced to 1 person from over 80 that were reported missing Tuesday. The death count has also not risen past the initial 18 people reported killed.
Officials with the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office say skeletal remains were found in the area but they do not believe that those remains were storm-related and appeared to have been there for well over a year.
Cookeville Police Department has started a death investigation into the remains but there is not a lot else to report on it at this time.
A curfew remains in effect for the tornado-affected areas from 7 p.m. until 8 a.m. Thursday. The curfew is only for those areas affected and not for the entire county. As well, the FAA has issued a flight restriction over the area after issues with flights coming over at low altitudes and hindering some of the searches. The flight restriction, which also includes drones, will continue until Friday at 10 a.m.
Volunteers are being asked not to go to the area to help on Thursday so utility crews can work to restore power, gas, and other utilities. The county will let volunteers know when they are allowed to come back.
“We can never voice words that shows our deepest gratitude and appreciation for all the outpouring of support we have seen from our community, whether it’s been our volunteers coming out, whether it’s been our large construction companies that have brought in heavy equipment to help our road and street department with clearing roads and debris, it has been amazing. Food donations, monetary donations, supplies, continues to pour in and for all of that, wherever you are, our deepest appreciation to you,” said Mayor Porter.
The Cookeville Putnam County Tornado Relief Fund has been set up for victims of the Putnam County tornado. This is the only official designated account with 100 percent of the donations going directly to the impacted victims. There are three ways to donate money:
- Any Bank of Putnam County location
- Venmo @CookevillePutnamCountyTornado
- PayPal @CookevillePutnamCountyTornadoReliefFund