This story was updated at 6:19 p.m. on Tuesday, March 3, 2020, with more information.
Violent storms in Nashville interrupted cell phone service across several areas of the state Tuesday, including the Chattanooga area.
“Our network is performing well in Nashville. However, some customers in Cookeville, Mt. Juliet, Lebanon, Clarksville and Chattanooga are experiencing some service disruptions due to fiber damage caused by the tornadoes that hit the area,” said Verizon spokeswoman Kate Jay on Tuesday. “Our engineers and emergency crews are working tirelessly to resolve it as quickly as possible.”
According to the outage-tracking website Downdetector.com, reports of Verizon service outages began around 3 a.m. in Chattanooga on Tuesday. By noon, there were more than 500 reports of service outages showing on the site, though reports began to drop in the afternoon. By 6 p.m., the number had dropped to around 200 reports.
Sprint also had a small number of outages reported on Downdetector in Chattanooga on Tuesday, though service issues were largely in the Nashville area, said spokeswoman Roni Singleton.
“Our team is aware and working quickly to fully restore service,” she said.
At Text Request, a Chattanooga-based online text messaging service for small businesses, the outage appeared to be slowing some processes for clients on Tuesday, said Kenneth Burke, director of marketing.
“We did see a spike in queued messages this morning, meaning customers were sending messages through Text Request, and we were waiting on the carriers (e.g. Verizon) to deliver them,” he said. “What often happens during an outage like this is that messages get delayed, but are not lost. Double notifications are common when messages finally make it through.”
From Wednesday through Sunday, Verizon will provide unlimited calling, texting and data to consumer and small business customers in Davidson, Putnam, Wilson and Benton counties, Jay said. In addition, to help with relief efforts, Verizon was making a $10,000 donation to the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.
“We stand with all of those affected by these violent storms,” said John Granby, Verizon Consumer Group South Area President. “Our network and community assets are on the way, and our teams are ready to provide support to those impacted as well as the first responders and others supporting them.”
Airbnb has activated its Open Homes Program in and around Nashville to help those displaced by the recent tornado and relief workers deployed to help. The program connects Airbnb hosts who are willing and able to provide free housing to displaced residents and disaster relief workers in the activation area.
The Open Homes Program is available through March 24 in Nashville and surrounding areas, including the counties of Benton, Caroll, Davidson, Wilson, Putnam, and Gibson. Go here for more information: www.airbnb.com/tntornado20.
Contact Mary Fortune at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6653. Follow her on Twitter at @maryfortune.