Kentucky Governor Andy Bashir said about 50 people were “likely” killed in a devastating outbreak of tornadoes that swept Kentucky and several other US states late Friday and early Saturday.
The Washington Post reported that he told local television station WLKY that the death toll could be “significantly northward”.
“The reports are really heartbreaking,” The Washington Post reported. A spokeswoman for the state’s Emergency Management Service said rescue officials had not confirmed death or injury figures as of Saturday morning.
The New York Times reported that some of the worst destruction occurred at Mayfield in western Kentucky. It added that about 110 people were inside a candle factory in the area when the cyclone hit.
“We believe we will lose at least dozens of these individuals,” Bashir was quoted by The Times as saying.
Dean Flehner, a spokesman for the state’s Emergency Management Agency, said in statements carried by the “Washington Post”, that bad weather in Tennessee had killed at least three people.
The Graves County Office of Emergency Management says that if you live in Mayfield and can walk safely, you should head to Fire Station House 1 at 211 E Broadway street. There will be buses to help transport people. Tweet embed Share these photos of some of the damage there. pic.twitter.com/YJUQv5HnoD
– WPSD Local 6 (@WPSDLocal6) December 11, 2021
At least one person was killed and five injured when a tornado tore through the roof of a nursing home in Monnett, northern Arkansas, the newspaper quoted local officials as saying.
In Illinois, authorities said several people were trapped after a roof partially collapsed at an Amazon.com Inc warehouse near St. Louis late Friday, after tornadoes and powerful storms blew through the area.
Bashir, who has declared a state of emergency in his state, was quoted as saying the damage would be “some of the worst we’ve seen in a long time”.
Storms caused a CSX freight train to derail in western Kentucky, though there were no reports of injuries, the newspaper said.
Bill Bunting, chief of operations for the Storm Prediction Center, part of the National Weather Service, said at least five states were hit by hurricanes, which he described as Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri and Arkansas.