There is good news at the candle factory in Mayfield, Kentucky, where a tornado flattened the factory, trapping workers beneath the debris with leaking drums of corrosive chemicals.
On Saturday morning, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said that 110 employees were inside the building when it collapsed, and only 40 had been rescued.
Mayfield Consumer Products CEO Tony Propes recently stated in an interview that only eight employees had passed away and that only six individuals were still missing, which is a far cry from the “dozens and dozens” of workers that were presumed to have been killed in the building’s collapse.
Even still, at least four counties in Kentucky have death tolls “in the double digits” and Beshear said that “The best that I think we can hope for would be the fifty [presumed dead], but I think it’s going to be significantly worse than that.”
President Joe Biden approved federal aid for Kentucky, where the tornado stayed on the ground for over 220 miles. At least 300 National Guard members are “going door-to-door, though many of these communities don’t have doors anymore. They’re going rubble to rubble,” in the hopes of finding more survivors.
Death Tolls In Other States Continue To Rise
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear: “I wish I understood why we’ve gotten hit by the pandemic, historic ice storm, flooding, and now the worst tornado in our history… what I do know is that in Kentucky, we’re good people.” https://t.co/6Jy0udWMfy pic.twitter.com/iBIxzgyHXB
— ABC News (@ABC) December 12, 2021
At least six people are confirmed dead after a tornado struck an Amazon warehouse northeast of St. Louis, Illinois, causing part of the roof to cave in. The Edwardsville Police Department announced that there were no more missing person reports for anyone inside the Amazon warehouse, but they are continuing search efforts for other victims.
At least 36 people have been confirmed dead over five states. 22 of these deaths took place in Kentucky, with 11 in the Bowling Green area. Six fatalities in Illinois are from those confirmed at the Amazon factory. Four people were killed in Tennessee, two deaths were documented in Missouri, and two deaths were reported in Arkansas after a nursing home collapsed.
“To the people of America, there is no lens big enough to show you the extent of the damage here in Graves County, or in Kentucky. Nothing that was standing in the direct line of this tornado is still standing,” Beshear said in a press conference on Sunday.
Unprecedented Tornado Strikes Concern: Is This The New Normal?
We won’t know if the 200 mile track was one tornado for some time (surveys take time), but to give perspective, the longest on record was 219 miles in March of 1925. Average path of a tornado is 3-5 miles. #tornado #quadstate
— Ginger Zee (@Ginger_Zee) December 13, 2021
According to an extreme weather researcher at Northern Illinois University, Victor Gensini, one tornado in Kentucky may have been on the ground for approximately 250 miles. Gensini said that, if their estimates are correct, that this would be the longest-tracked tornado in United States history.
There were at least 40 reported tornadoes across nine states between Friday night and early Saturday morning, ripping through the states of Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, and Tennessee.
On Sunday, the National Weather Service rated the tornado as an EF-3, although according to a press conference last night, that rating is still being evaluated and it might be higher. The tornado that destroyed the Amazon facility was reported to have had peak winds of up to 155 mph.
On Saturday, Biden took questions from reporters on climate change and said that he was planning to ask the EPA and other organizations to take a look at whether the unprecedented string of tornadoes could have been caused by climate change.
“The fact is that we all know that everything is more intense when the climate is warming,” he said. “And obviously it has some impact here but I can’t give you a quantitative read on that.”