State Watch

At least 70 dead in Kentucky during record-breaking tornado disaster

AP Photo/Michael Clubb
A house sits destroyed by a tornado in Campbellsville, Ky., Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021. Tornadoes and severe weather caused catastrophic damage across multiple states late Friday.

At least 70 people are dead in Kentucky after raging storms and tornados tore through the state.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) announced at a news conference Saturday morning that close to 100 people are presumed dead as emergency personnel continue to respond to the natural disaster.

“We are nearing the end of the most severe tornado event in Kentucky,” he said, adding that it’s “something we have never seen before.”

Following days of warm weather, a cold front moved into the midwest, causing severe thunderstorms and tornados, Accuweather reported.

Storms hit five states — Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky and Tennessee — beginning late Friday night, causing extensive damage and a currently unknown death toll.

Beshear declared a state of emergency before midnight on Friday and activated 181 members of the state’s National Guard. State police and emergency personnel are working around the clock to respond to the disaster.

Four tornadoes hit more than a dozen counties in Kentucky, according to the governor. More than 56,000 homes are without power.

“This has been one of the toughest nights in Kentucky history,” he said. “Some areas have been hit in ways that are hard to put into words.”

A student at Western Kentucky University died during a tornado that hit the campus and the surrounding area, the college president wrote in a letter released on Saturday.

“As our sun rises on our hill this morning, tremendous loss in our surrounding area is apparent,” wrote President Timothy Caboni. “A young man set to graduate today tragically passed away today in the early morning storms at his off-campus residence.”

The director of Emergency Management in Kentucky, Michael Dossett, said rescues and search efforts are ongoing as personnel respond to a tornado that tore through 200 miles of Kentucky ground.

“It is a significant, massive disaster event,” he said.

Tags Andy Beshear deaths Kentucky Mayfield Natural Disaster state of emergency Storms tornadoes

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