At least 25 dead as tornadoes rip through country music capital_1

Americans had as little as three minutes to brace for impact as an out-of-nowhere tornado tore through Nashville and other parts of Tennessee, killing at least 25 people and injuring more than 150.

Buildings were flattened, cars flipped upside down and some 50,000 houses and businesses had their electricity shut off when violent storms and several tornadoes struck at least four counties in the southern state.

Governor William Lee has declared a state of emergency, with many people still unaccounted for as of Wednesday morning (Australian time).

Considered one of America's top honky-tonk hubs, Nashville was at the forefront of many musicians' minds, including country stars Dolly Parton, Chris Young, Ron Pope and others who tweeted messages of support.


Despite the widespread destruction, polling sites at schools and elsewhere will be open for voting unless otherwise noted, officials said.

"We want people to exercise their rights and get out there and vote," governor Mr Lee said.

-with AAP