On Tuesday 3rd March 2020, two tornadoes caused significant damage to hundreds of buildings and an airport in central Tennessee. The death toll currently stands at 25, however, a number of people remain unaccounted for, according to Governor Bill Lee.

Putnam County and Wilson County were amongst those that were most impacted by the tornadoes. More than 150 people were taken to medical facilities after sustaining injuries, and Nashville Electric has said nearly 44,000 people have been left without power.

The tornado caused major damage to John C Tune Airport after power lines went down and several hangars were destroyed, the airport released a statement on its website:

“In the interest of safety, the public is advised to avoid John C. Tune until further notice. The Airport Authority has activated its Emergency Operations Centre to coordinate the response.”

The airport has been closed and it is not yet known when it will re-open. Passengers should check the airport’s website regularly to check for the latest updates.

According to the BBC, Tennessee’s Emergency Community Relations Officer Maggie Hannan said, “It is an ongoing search and rescue right now.”

Passengers who are due to travel to the airport should contact their airline or tour operator who will offer to rebook, re-route or provide a full refund on all unused parts of their tickets. Natural disasters are generally considered to be ‘extraordinary circumstances’, so airlines are not obligated to provide compensation.

Holidaymakers in affected areas may be able to claim compensation from their travel insurance company, providing their policy offers cover for ‘Force Majeure.’ If their hotel or accommodation is made uninhabitable as a result of the tornados, holidaymakers may be entitled up to £2,000 for the cost of additional travel expenses, in the event they need to be brought back home or moved to a safer location. Cover levels will differ from insurer to insurer, so holidaymakers are always advised to check their policy wordings carefully or speak to their travel insurance provider directly.