At Least 70 Dead After Tornadoes Rip Through 6 States

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Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi, and Tennessee are all dealing with the aftermath of at least 30 tornadoes that touched down, killing at least 70 people, according to CNN.

In Edwardsville, Illinois, rescuers are currently searching for missing Amazon workers after the severe weather caused a fulfillment center warehouse to partially collapse Friday night.

Fifty to one-hundred people were stuck inside the building as the tornado hit, and The Daily News says that one person is confirmed dead.

Several people were able to exit the scene without serious injury. Still, as the search continues over the next few days, officials are worried about what they might discover in the rubble.

“It’s an utter disaster,” police chief Mike Fillback stated in a press conference. “You have concrete, and you have things hanging. It’s quite windy outside, so things are unstable.”

“Our thoughts, prayers, and deepest sympathies are with the victims, their loved ones, and everyone impacted,” Amazon spokesperson Richard Rocha said. “This is a devastating tragedy for our Amazon family, and our focus is on supporting our employees and partners.”

In Mayfield, Kentucky, the hardest-hit state, the governor fears that 70 to 100 people could have lost their lives due to the powerful tornadoes, according to The Weather Channel.

Governer Andy Beshear issued a state of emergency because of the damage and aftermath.

“The damage is significant,” he said. “And we expect multiple fatalities. This is gonna be some of the worst tornado damage that we’ve seen in a long time.”

Search and rescue teams are currently searching for victims after one of the tornadoes hit the Mayfield Consumer Products candle factory.

At the time, CNN said, about 110 people were inside when the tornado left the factory as “just a pile of rubble.”

Sadly, because it’s the holiday season, it is one of the factory’s busiest times for the year, and it is one of the largest employers in town.

“When [first-responders] arrived on the scene,” Kentucky Rep. James Comer noted, “they didn’t think there would be any survivors. But they could hear people yelling for help. And they pulled people out, some people that didn’t experience any damages.”

“But, of course, now, you’re at the point to where you’re pulling out the people that didn’t make it. And there’s still lots of people unaccounted for in that factory,” he added.

Because of the storm, Western Kentucky University has canceled their winter commencement ceremonies.

“WKU remains without power,” the school tweeted out. “No injuries are reported on campus, but there is significant tornado damage in the area.”

They also stressed that students on campus should remain in place, and those off-campus should not attempt to travel to campus.

So far, several are dead after the tornados hit Monette and Blankenship, Arkansas.

A tornado hit a Monette Manor nursing home which killed one and trapped 20 others inside when the building collapsed, NBC Washington said. 

The power is also out, and the mayor of the region, Bob Blankenship, does not know when it will be back.

“It’s just a lot of devastation that we have not seen in my years of working in emergency services,” he said. “I’ve always had the fear of it coming to my hometown, seeing the devastation in other towns through the years but always just in fear of it hitting here and reality hit last night.”

“We’re still without power,” he also said. “Shower units and feeding units will come in shortly this morning from different organizations to help us. There’s no time limit or frame of when electricity will be on since it covered so much area.”

He added that although many nursing homes and traditional homes were hit, many lives were saved due to the warning systems in place that alerted residents about 15-20 minutes before storms were detected, CNN wrote.

All the other states affected are also dealing with power outages. CNN states that in Tennesse alone, about 132,000 customers have no power.

According to Michael Dossett, the director of Kentucky’s Emergency Management, the National Guard, incident management teams, and all other assets are headed to the area to assist.

Even so, the aftermath of the storm is unimaginable.

“This will be one of the most significant, the most extensive disasters that Kentucky has faced,” Dossett said.