More than 70 people are feared to have died after a catastrophic series of tornadoes swept through Kentucky and other states on Friday night and early Saturday morning, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said.
“It’s devastating,” Beshear told a news conference early Saturday, adding that he had declared a state of emergency and activated 181 National Guard guards, a number that is expected to increase as requests for help continue to pour in.
“We believe our death toll from this event is north of 70 Kentucky residents and may end up exceeding 100 before the day is out,” he said. “We will get over it,” he added. “We will rebuild, we are strong and resistant people.”
Beshear said he expects this tornado to be the deadliest to hit Kentucky.
Beshear said four tornadoes, one of which remained on the ground for more than 200 miles after landing, had swept through the state. Nearly 60,000 Kentuckians had been without power, he said.
The city of Mayfield had been “devastated,” he said, adding that the collapse of the roof of a candle factory “caused a large number of victims.”
Mayfield’s Assistant Fire Marshal Jeremy Creason said most of his resources will go toward dealing with the devastation at the facility. At the same time, Creason is looking for a temporary home for his main fire station, as it was destroyed by the tornado, rendering it “completely inoperable,” he said.
Kiss after tweeted a letter he sent to President Joe Biden asking for “an immediate federal emergency declaration.” The statement is expected to be made official in the early afternoon.
Elsewhere, one person was killed and five seriously injured when an apparent tornado struck the Monette Manor Nursing Home in Monette, Arkansas, Craighead County Judge Marvin Day said. He initially said that two people had died.
At the same news conference, Kentucky Emergency Management Director Michael Dossett said the storm represented a significant mass disaster event.
“All state resources are being applied,” he said, adding that “it will be dawn before we realize the full magnitude of this event.”
Trucks from the Federal Emergency Management Agency are heading to Kentucky with search and rescue teams that will assist local authorities as well as temporary power systems, Dossett said 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, state and local officials, we will work with the entire Kentucky federal delegation to support Governor Andy Beshear’s requests for federal assistance to help these impacted communities with the funds and resources they need. rebuild, ”McConnell said.
“Our hearts are broken for all those who suffered from the terrible storms last night,” said Paul.
Tornado warnings issued on Friday also covered parts of Arkansas, Illinois, Missouri and Tennessee. Nearly 180,000 utility customers in those five states were without power early Saturday morning.
On Saturday morning, Biden said he had been briefed “on the devastating tornadoes in the central United States.”
“We are working with the governors to make sure they have what they need as they continue to search for survivors and damage assessments.” Biden tweeted. “Losing a loved one in a storm like this is an unimaginable tragedy.”
Mayfield Police Chief Nathan King also said his police station was destroyed by the tornado, which comprises his fleets 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 response, particularly enforcing a new curfew urging residents in Kentucky to stay indoors after 7 p.m.
First responders will be the only ones allowed on the streets at night, King said.
Amazon Warehouse collapsed
In Edwardsville, Illinois, outside of St. Louis, there were multiple injuries and at least one death after a 100-foot portion of a wall partially collapsed at an Amazon facility, officials from the U.S. Emergency Management Agency said. Illinois and the Edwardsville Fire Department. what building it was, or how many people were believed to be trapped inside.
He added that it was going to be a “long process” to determine exactly what had happened.
Amazon spokesman Richard Rocha called the situation a “devastating tragedy” and 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 partners,” he added.
Illinois Governor JB Pritzker activated state emergency operations
Enter as a result of severe weather. There have been multiple unconfirmed reports of tornadoes, the emergency management agency said.
Damages 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. It was unclear if there were any injuries.
Previously, the National Weather Service also issued a tornado emergency for the Kentucky cities of Madisonville, Earlington and Nortonville. This designation means that “a serious threat to human life is imminent,” that catastrophic damage is likely to occur, or that there is reliable information that a tornado has arrived.