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Search and rescue efforts remained in effect across western Kentucky after multiple tornadoes devastated parts of the state Friday night and Saturday morning, leaving many communities destroyed.
In that time frame, dozens of tornadoes moved across six states: Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Illinois, Missouri, and Mississippi — including one major hurricane that ripped through more than 200 miles.
Much of the damage and deaths were recorded in Kentucky.
According to Governor Andy Beshear, dozens of people are believed to have died in the state. He offered different estimates on Sunday, from what he described as a “best case” of 50 deaths to more than 100.
At a news conference Sunday night, Beshear said more than 1,000 homes had been destroyed and thousands were left homeless.
“I don’t think we’re going to see damage of this scale ever,” he said.
Beshear declared a state of emergency on Saturday morning. Hours later, President Biden approved emergency federal assistance to the state. President is expected to visit Kentucky this week and meet Beshear.
Beshear said he has visited many of the affected areas, including Dawson Springs, the city where his father, former Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear, grew up.
“I saw almost half of the town wiped out. It’s a special place. It’s home to about 3,700 people and the devastation is indescribable,” he said. told NPR earlier on Sunday.
About an hour southwest of Dawson Springs is Mayfield, Ky., which also faces severe devastation. Popular aerial pictures describe the damage spread throughout the city and what remains of a destruction candle factory It collapsed when it was hit by a tornado.
“I was there yesterday, and it was even worse than the pictures,” Beshear told NPR, referring to the candle factory. “It’s 15 feet of steel, of the cars in the parking lot. the vehicle went through the roof of the chemical corrosive drum.”
About 110 people are believed to have been working the night shift at the plant when the tornado hit.
“We’re about 40 people alive and we haven’t had a rescue since around 3:30 a.m. yesterday. There’s going to be a miracle at this point, but we’re praying for it,” Beshear said. speak.
On Sunday, a spokesman for the factory, Mayfield Consumer Products, told the Associated Press that there have been eight confirmed deaths and eight are still missing while more than 90 have been counted. However, Governor Beshear said the state has not verified those numbers. Though if accurate, it “could be a better situation and the miracle we had hoped for.”
Michael Dossett, director of the Kentucky Department of Emergency Management, said Sunday night that the process of establishing long-term shelters for displaced people would begin immediately.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said that FEMA will stay on the ground “until recovery is complete.”
Mayfield and Dawson Springs both fell almost a stormy road it passed through six states in addition to Kentucky, including Tennessee, Arkansas, Illinois, Mississippi, and Missouri.
Reports of increased deaths, injuries and power-off continued throughout the region as emergency efforts ramped up.
As of Sunday, six people have been reported dead in Edwardsville, Ill., after a Tornado causes a warehouse in Amazon to collapse. Authorities at the scene said they were continuing rescue efforts.
As of Sunday, Kentucky is the only state authorized by the White House to receive federal aid. Biden urged governors to request federal aid if needed.
“I want people in all of these states to know, we’re going to get through this. We’re going to get through this together. And the federal government is not going to walk away,” Biden said on Saturday.