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Dozens Feared Dead after Tornadoes Hit US


A general view of the damage after devastating outbreak of tornadoes ripped through several U.S. states, in Dickson, Tennessee, Dec. 11, 2021.

Dozens are feared dead after a series of season-defying tornadoes Friday night in several U.S. states, causing a wide swath of destruction from weather conditions more common in spring.

Officials said tornadoes moved over at least five states: Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, and Tennessee.

People work at the scene of a train derailment after a devastating outbreak of tornadoes ripped through several U.S. states in Earlington, Kentucky, U.S. Dec.
People work at the scene of a train derailment after a devastating outbreak of tornadoes ripped through several U.S. states in Earlington, Kentucky, U.S. Dec.

President Joe Biden tweeted Saturday that he was briefed on the situations and said his administration is “working with Governors to ensure they have what they need as the search for survivors and damage assessments continue."

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said at a news conference early Saturday that at least 50 people were likely killed in a candle factory in the town of Mayfield, where about 110 people were working, adding that he expects the toll to climb.

“We believe our death toll from this event will exceed 50 Kentuckians and probably end up 70 to 100,” Beshear said. “It’s very hard, really tough, and we’re praying for each and every one of those families.”

The tornado in Mayfield was one of at least four that devastated a number of counties in Kentucky. Beshear said one tornado churned through about 322 kilometers of land in the state.

Storms also swept through the Kentucky city of Bowling Green, killing an off-campus Western Kentucky University student, according to the university’s president.

Beshear declared a state of emergency, activated the Kentucky National Guard and deployed the state police.

In neighboring Tennessee, three people were killed as storms hit the northwestern corner of the state, according to Tennessee Emergency Management Agency spokesman Dean Flener.

In Edwardsville, Illinois, Police Chief Mike Fillback told reporters Saturday morning that at least one person was killed when the roof of an Amazon facility was torn off and the building partially collapsed. He said a rescue operation is underway and two people at the facility were taken by helicopter to nearby hospitals.

It was not immediately clear if the damage in Edwardsville was caused by straight-line storms or a tornado, but a National Weather Service office in the neighboring state of Missouri reported “radar-confirmed tornadoes” in the area around the time the building was hit.

Near the Missouri towns of Defiance and New Melle, one person was killed and two others injured in building collapses, authorities said.

First responders work outside an Amazon fulfillment center after it was heavily damaged when a strong thunderstorm moved through the area, Dec. 10, 2021, in Edwardsville, Ill.
First responders work outside an Amazon fulfillment center after it was heavily damaged when a strong thunderstorm moved through the area, Dec. 10, 2021, in Edwardsville, Ill.


A tornado also hit a nursing home in Monette in northern Arkansas, killing one person and trapping 20 people inside as the building collapsed, according to Craighead County Judge Marvin Day. He said five people sustained serious injuries and a few received minor ones.

Day said first responders rescued those trapped in the building that was “pretty much destroyed.”

Another person was killed elsewhere in Arkansas, according to local media reports.

Scientists are warning with increasing urgency that global warming is making storms more powerful and frequent, posing even greater threats to areas where extreme weather is already common.

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