FRANKFURT, USA – A series of devastating tornadoes hit six Midwestern states on Friday and early Saturday morning, leaving a trail of devastation with dozens of dead. Kentucky was hardest hit, with Governor Andy Beshear saying there were at least 70 casualties following the collapse of the roof of a candle factory in the town of Mayfield. Bashir declared a state of emergency due to damage to 24 districts hit by four cyclones and said the death toll was likely to rise. He also called up the National Guard and the state police.
“It was one of the toughest nights in Kentucky history,” the governor said at a news conference Saturday morning, adding that the death toll could reach 100. “It’s devastating.
At least 36 tornadoes have been recorded in six states — Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee and Mississippi — according to the NOAA Storm Prediction Center.
In Kentucky, the deadliest tornado traveled 365 kilometers through the state. The local government recommends that residents take shelter in a safe place and take the necessary precautions.
According to authorities, dozens of people were killed in a candle factory in the small town of Mayfield of 10,000 people. Bashir said about 110 people were working when the cyclone hit the scene Friday night. Most of the devastation was concentrated in Graves County, where Mayfield is located. The city council issued a curfew decision in the city, as the force of the wind destroyed the fire station and the police station.
Keanna Parsons-Perez, who was inside the plant at the time of the collapse, said it all happened so quickly that the roof fell shortly after workers heard the wind and the lights started to go out.
“We could feel the wind…and then a little jolt. Then, boom! It all fell on us,” she told NBC.
In Arkansas, a 90-bed nursing home in Monnett was hit, one person died and five others were seriously injured.
The building was directly affected by the hurricane. We were very fortunate that more people did not die or get injured there. “It could have been much worse,” said District Judge Marvin Day.
In southern Illinois, the roof of an Amazon warehouse collapsed during a hurricane. An Amazon spokesperson said the company is assessing the situation and the damage to the facility. Amazon employees were trapped under the rubble on Saturday morning. Officials and the media estimate that there may have been 100 people at the site at the time of the collapse.
At least two deaths have been confirmed, and search and rescue operations are still ongoing. Some employees were able to leave the building on their own, according to Edwardsville Police Chief Michael Fiback.
In Madisonville, Kentucky, a freight train derailed during the storm, but no deaths or injuries were reported. In Tennessee, at least two people have died, local media reported, citing an emergency management official. President Joe Biden sympathized with the victims in a Twitter message, saying, “Losing a loved one in the face of a storm like this is an unimaginable tragedy.” He said the federal government was working with governors “to ensure they get what they need while the search for survivors continues and the damages assessed.”
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