Dec 11, 2021
Rescue efforts are underway after over 30 tornadoes including a potentially historic quad-state twister ripped across multiple states in the South and Midwest late Friday, causing catastrophic destruction and scores of deaths.
"The devastation is unlike anything I have seen in my life," said Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, "and I have trouble putting it into words."
In addition to Kentucky, affected states included Arkansas, Illinois, Missouri, Mississippi, and Tennessee.
\u201cThis is all that's left of an Amazon warehouse in Illinois after a tornado struck the building, in what's being described as a 'mass casualty event' by officials.\n\nSeveral tornadoes struck a number of US states overnight, with reports of more than 50 people killed.\u201d— Channel 4 News (@Channel 4 News) 1639227283
At a morning press briefing in the devastated city of Mayfield, Beshear said he was "certain" the death toll "is north of 70. It may in fact end up exceeding 100 before the day is done."
As weather historian Bob Henson wrote Saturday, that figure would be historic.
"No U.S. tornado is known to have killed more than 80 people outside the core tornado season from April to June," he wrote at Yale Climate Connections, adding that "it's quite uncommon for intense tornadoes to strike as far north as Illinois and Kentucky in early winter."
According to the Associated Press:
The storms hit a candle factory in Kentucky, an Amazon facility in Illinois and a nursing home in Arkansas. Officials had confirmed 29 deaths, including 22 in three Kentucky counties. Beshear said about 110 people were in the Mayfield factory when the tornado roared through.
Debris from destroyed buildings and shredded trees covered the ground in Mayfield, a city of about 10,000 in western Kentucky. Twisted metal sheeting, downed power lines, and wrecked vehicles lined the streets of what was barely recognizable as a town.
Aerial imagery revealed vast destruction in Mayfield.
The tornado that hit Mayfield, as NBC Newsreported, was one that passed through four states--Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, and Kentucky--and was "produced by a parent thunderstorm that traveled more than 230 miles... over the course of four hours."
\u201cA devastating, yet incredible, view from a drone in Bowling Green, Kentucky showing the path of destruction from a tornado. Video comes from @WHAS11 our @TEGNA affiliate in Louisville @wusa9\u201d— Tom Hunsicker (@Tom Hunsicker) 1639242291
President Joe Biden said Saturday that "this is likely to be one of the largest tornado outbreaks in our history."
"It's a tragedy," he said. "And we still don't know how many lives are lost or the full extent of the damage. I want to emphasize what I told all the governors, the federal government will do everything, everything it can possibly do to help."
Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.
We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.