Tornado Kills Cheryl Lovett, Injures Others in Columbia, Tennessee

A powerful EF-3 tornado struck Maury County, Tennessee, killing Cheryl Lovett and injuring five others, destroying her family's home and property. The community has come together to support the Lovett family, with online campaigns and a benefit event organized to help them recover.

author-image
Bijay Laxmi
New Update
Tornado Kills Cheryl Lovett, Injures Others in Columbia, Tennessee

Tornado Kills Cheryl Lovett, Injures Others in Columbia, Tennessee

A powerful tornado ripped through Maury County, Tennessee, just outside of Nashville, on Wednesday, May 8, 2024, killing Cheryl Lovett and destroying her family's property. The tornado was part of a series of severe thunderstorms that hit Middle Tennessee, with multiple rounds of storms continuing into early Thursday morning.

Why this matters: This devastating tornado serves as a stark reminder of the destructive potential of severe weather events, highlighting the importance of emergency preparedness and timely warnings. As climate change continues to exacerbate extreme weather conditions, stories like this underscore the need for communities to come together and support those affected by natural disasters.

The tornado struck the Lovett family's home, killing Cheryl and injuring at least 5 others, including her great aunt, Penny, who was hospitalized as of Thursday. Cheryl's daughter, Brie Lovett, described the terrifying moments before her mother's death, saying,"I was on the porch and it went quiet. My best friend had got through on my phone and yelled 'Take cover!'"Brie's brotherran to save his 3-month-old twin babies, while she dove headfirst into her closet as the tornado destroyed the home.

The Lovett family's home was extensively damaged, with entire sections ripped away and strewn about their property. The community has come together to support the family, with online crowd-sourcing campaigns and a benefit event organized to help them recover. "The only way we are gonna get through this is support," said Brie Lovett, referring to the outpouring of support from family, friends, and strangers as a blessing.

Cheryl Lovett was a well-known member of her community, having worked at a nearby market and restaurant in Columbia, Tennessee for nearly 40 years. Her colleagues at Stan's Market and Restaurant remembered her as a dedicated worker and loving presence. "Cheryl wasn't just an employee she was our family too... We cared about her," said Rose Thornton, a server at the restaurant. "Cheryl will never be gone here."

Columbia Mayor Chaz Molder reported multiple tornado sightings in the town, stating that while the city of Columbia avoided the worst of the storm, nearby areas were severely affected. A tornado watch was in effect for Middle Tennessee until 9 p.m. on Wednesday, and a boy was critically injured after becoming caught in a storm drain. Another person died in East Tennessee after being hit by a fallen tree.

The tornado that struck Maury County was classified as an EF-3, with wind speeds reaching up to 140 miles per hour and stretching half a mile wide. According to Maury County Emergency Agency Director Jeff Hardy, 105 homes were damaged in the storms. Governor Bill Lee spent time surveying the damage and visiting the hardest-hit areas on Thursday. The tragic loss of Cheryl Lovett and the devastation left in the wake of this powerful tornado serve as a stark reminder of the destructive potential of these storms and the importance of heeding warnings totake cover.