At least 70 dead in Kentucky as tornadoes ravage parts of the United States


More than 70 people are believed to have died after a catastrophic series of tornadoes swept through Kentucky and other states on Friday evening and early Saturday, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said.

“This is the most devastating and deadliest tornado in Kentucky history,” Beshear said at a press conference Saturday afternoon. More than 181 National Guard guards were activated early in the morning, a number that has increased as requests for assistance continue to flow.

The governor estimates that “the death toll from this event is north of 70 Kentuckians and could end up exceeding 100 by the end of the day,” he said.

“We’re going to be fine,” Beshar added. “We will rebuild, we are strong and resilient people.”

On Saturday afternoon, the White House approved the Kentucky state of emergency and ordered federal assistance to complement state and local response efforts due to emergency conditions resulting from severe storms, straight winds, d ‘floods and tornadoes.

President Joe Biden told a press conference shortly after that he was ready to endorse additional federal emergency declarations from other states as soon as they submitted them.

“The federal government is not going to go away,” Biden said. “We’re going to be fine.”

Bowling Green and Mayfield, Ky. Sustained damage after tornadoes swept through five US states overnight on December 11, 2021. The town of Mayfield, in western Kentucky, was the “zero point” of the storm – a scene of “massive devastation,” the official said.Word Gunnar; Brett Carlsen / AFP; Getty Images

Beshear said four tornadoes, one of which lay on the ground for more than 200 miles after touching down, swept through the state. Almost 60,000 Kentuckians have been deprived of electricity, he said.

The town of Mayfield was one of the hardest hit in Kentucky, he said, adding that a collapsed roof at a candle factory had “taken many lives”.

“The devastation is unlike anything I have ever seen in my life,” Beshar said. “It will be a miracle if someone else is found alive.”

Mayfield Deputy Fire Chief Jeremy Creason said most of their resources were spent on devastating the candle factory. So far, 40 people have been rescued inside the facility late Saturday morning. Authorities believe there were around 110 people inside the candle-making plant when it was shaved by the twister.

Creason also added that he was looking for temporary accommodation for Mayfield’s main fire station since it was destroyed by the tornado, leaving it “totally unusable,” he said.

Elsewhere, one person died and five were seriously injured when an apparent tornado hit the Monette Manor nursing home in Monette, Arkansas, Craighead County Judge Marvin Day said. He first said that two people had died.

People search a building damaged by a tornado on December 11, 2021 in Mayfield, Ky.Brett Carlsen / Getty Images
Local residents walk past the scene of a train derailment after a devastating outbreak of tornadoes ravaged several states in Earlington, Ky. On December 11, 2021. Cheney Orr / Reuters

At a press conference, Kentucky Emergency Management Director Michael Dossett said the storm represented a major disaster.

“All the resources of the state are being used,” he said, adding that “it will be dawn even before we realize the full extent of this event”.

Federal Emergency Management Agency trucks are on their way to Kentucky with search and rescue teams assisting local authorities as well as temporary electrical systems, Dossett said late Saturday morning.

Republican Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul of Kentucky issued statements following the devastating event.

“As I continue to receive reports from my staff, local and state officials, we will work with the entire Kentucky Federal Delegation to support Governor Andy Beshear’s requests for federal assistance to help these hard-hit communities with the funding and resources they need. rebuild, ”McConnell said.

“Our hearts are broken for all of those who suffered from the terrible storms of last night,” said Paul.

The National Weather Service also warned of possible tornadoes on Friday in parts of Arkansas, Illinois, Missouri and Tennessee.

“We are working with the governors to make sure they have what they need as the search for survivors and the damage assessment continue,” Biden tweeted on Saturday morning. “Losing a loved one in a storm like this is an unimaginable tragedy.”

Mayfield Police Chief Nathan King also said their police station was destroyed by the tornado, including their fleet of vehicles and communications technology. But that doesn’t stop them from responding to the emergency, he said.

Mayfield Police will begin 12-hour shifts to help with the response, particularly enforcing a new curfew urging residents of the city of Kentucky to stay indoors after 7 p.m.

First responders will be the only ones allowed on the streets overnight, King said.

A woman searches for valuables among the remains of a house on December 11, 2021 on the F Freeway in Defiance, Missouri.Christian Gooden / St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP
Heavy damage to the city center after a tornado swept through the area on December 11, 2021 in Mayfield, Ky.Brett Carlsen / Getty Images

Amazon warehouse collapsed

In Edwardsville, Ill., Outside of St. Louis, there were at least six dead and one injured after a 100-foot portion of a wall partially collapsed at a facility. Amazon, said Edwardsville fire officials.

Authorities said 45 people were rescued from the facility after the collapse, Edwardsville Fire Chief James Whiteford said.

Calling it a “devastating tragedy,” Amazon spokesman Richard Rocha said the company offered its “thoughts, prayers and deepest condolences to the victims, their loved ones and all those affected.” .

“Our goal is to support our employees and our partners,” he added.

Emergency crews respond to a collapsed Amazon warehouse after a tornado swept through Edwardsville, Ill. On December 10, 2021.Chris Phillips / Maverick Media via Reuters

Due to the extreme weather conditions, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker activated state emergency operations overnight.

There have been several unconfirmed reports of tornadoes, the emergency management agency said.

More than 30 tornadoes have been reported from six states spanning the Mississippi Valley, the Southeast, and the Midwest.

One of these tornadoes is called the “Four-State Tornado” after passing through Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, and Kentucky in our day.

The National Weather Service is expected to conduct a formal tornado investigation to confirm whether it was a continuous tornado or multiple tornadoes produced by the same storm. If confirmed as a single, continuous tornado, the so-called “four-state tornado” will set the record for the longest “long-trajectory” tornado in US history.

Death and damage in Tennessee, Missouri

A possible tornado also struck in Samburg, Tennessee, where the local fire department was badly damaged, the Obion County Sheriff’s Office said.

At least three deaths have been confirmed in Tennessee in connection with the tornadoes, according to Dean Flener, spokesperson for the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency. Two people have died in Lake County and one in Obion County, he said in a statement.

In Missouri, three other people were rescued from collapsed structures flattened by tornadoes, according to Kyle Gaines, spokesperson for the St. Charles County Ambulance District.

At least one death has been reported in Charles County, Missouri, as a result of the tornadoes, NBC St. Louis affiliate KSDK reported.

Previously, the National Weather Service also issued a tornado emergency for the Kentucky towns of Madisonville, Earlington and Nortonville. Such a designation means that “a serious threat to human life is imminent”, that catastrophic damage is likely, or that there is reliable information that a tornado has made landfall.

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