Aussie man caught up in deadly US tornado
A Geelong man has been caught up in a "devastating" tornado in the United States that has killed more than 20 people.
Luke Maynard was asleep when winds travelling more than 250km/h ripped through Cookeville, Tennessee on 2am Tuesday - less than 2kms away from his house.
"Strangely enough, it didn't wake me up," Mr Maynard told the Geelong Advertiser.
"But when I walked outside my house that morning there was just stuff everywhere, pieces of tin and debris scattered all over the place.
"Our house was just really dirty. At that stage I thought it was just a bad storm."
The college football player said he had "no clue" a tornado had struck his town until he arrived at training later that morning.
"When I got there, there was just people's personal pictures and belongings all over the field," he said.
"One of our athletic trainers had lost his house. It's all pretty devastating."
Preliminary reports classified the tornado as an EF3 - the third most intense tornado - with wind speeds between 248 to 256kmph, according to Mr Maynard.
The 24-year-old said the tornado hit Nashville at midnight, travelling more than 100km before ending in Cookeville.
"I went for a drive to where the tornado went through and there were roofs completely ripped off, powerlines down, and rubbish everywhere," he said.
"There were heaps of houses destroyed or completely gone.
"A lot of people were standing around with their hands on their hips not sure what to do."
Mr Maynard has been in the US since July 2018 as part of a college football scholarship.
He said the community would take months to recover from the impact.
"There's a very eerie vibe around town," he said. "Everyone is in shock about what's happening."
"It's the first time I've encountered anything like this. It's something you never think you will see in your life."
Nashville Governor Bill Lee expected the death toll to rise as search-and-rescue crews combed through collapsed buildings and rubble for missing people.
"It's a tragic day in our state, a sad day. There are 25 confirmed fatalities," Mr Lee said on Tuesday.