Tornadoes in US have likely killed 50 people, says Kentucky governor

Governor says it is ‘most severe tornado event’ in state history

Zoe Tidman
Saturday 11 December 2021 13:49
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Deadly tornadoes tear through several states

At least 50 people have been killed in a series of devastating tornadoes that hit Kentucky and other US states on Friday evening and early Saturday, according to the southern state’s governor.

In a press conference on Saturday morning, Democratic governor Andy Beshear said Kentucky was “nearing the end of the most severe tornado event” in the state’s history.

“We believe our death toll from this event will exceed 50 Kentuckians,” he said.

This figure would “probably end up closer to 70 to 100 lost lives”, Mr Beshear added.

The winter storm began in the early hours on Friday and has since torn through five states, leaving a trail of destruction that includes the collapse of an Amazon warehouse in Illinois, where the roof and a wall the length of a football field caved in.

Delivery vehicles with the Amazon Prime logo sit parked at a damaged Amazon.com, Inc warehouse as emergency crews respond after a tornado passed through Edwardsville, Illinois, U.S., December 10, 2021

In Arkansas, two people were killed and several others were seriously injured after a tornado ripped through a nursing home on Friday night. Tornadoes have also been reported in Tennessee and Missouri.

Interior view of tornado damage to Emmanuel Baptist Church on December 11, 2021 in Mayfield, Kentucky

Me Beshear said that the tornado had also caused a roof to collapse at a candle factory in Mayfield.

An Amazon distribution center is heavily damaged after a strong thunderstorm moved through the area Friday, Dec. 10, 2021, in Edwardsville

“There were about 110 people in it at the time that the tornado hit it,” Mr Beshear said. “We believe we’ll lose at least dozens of those individuals.

“It’s very hard, really tough, and we’re praying for each and every one of those families.”

Miguel Macias surveys the damage to Emmanuel Baptist Church where he came for shelter last night during the tornado on December 11, 2021 in Mayfield, Kentucky

Kentucky’s governor told local media 50 people were “likely” to have been killed in his state, but the death toll could also end up being “significantly north of that”, according to The Washington Post,

“The reports are really heartbreaking,” he said.

The National Weather Service imposed a tornado watch for parts of Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio until early Saturday morning local time.

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