Two tornadoes touched down in central Tennessee early Tuesday, killing at least five people, authorities said. One of them hit the CBS Nashville affiliate directly. WTVF-TV described damage around town as extensive.

Two of the dead were in Nashville and the others were in Putnam County, east of the city.

A video posted online from east Nashville showed what appeared to be a well-defined funnel moving quickly across the city. Lightning repeatedly flashed while much of the city was in the dark. The whir of the wind could be heard gusting after the tornado moved out of sight.

 

The city's emergency operations center was activated. An emergency shelter was set up. Residents were urged to avoid downed power lines. Almost 48,000 homes and businesses had no electricity.

Schools were closed for the day but polling stations for the Super Tuesday primary were to stay open.

The tornado near downtown reportedly stayed on the ground into Hermitage, about 10 miles east of Nashville.

WTVF said damage in the Nashville was severe:

  

An AutoZone was ripped apart. WTVF called that damage "stunning." A Burger Up eatery was destroyed.

Parts of Tennessee State University's campus were damaged, but the school is on spring break.  

A reported gas leak forced an evacuation of the IMT building in the Germantown community, according to WSMV-TV. Photos showed dozens of people in the street carrying their belongings not long after the tornado moved through the city. 

Nashville Mayor John Cooper tweeted, "Nashville is hurting, and our community has been devastated. My heart goes out to those who have lost loved ones. Be sure to lend a helping hand to a neighbor in need, and let's come together as a community once more. Together, we will get through this and come out stronger."

First published on March 3, 2020 / 5:03 AM

© 2020 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.