Energy & Environment

Over 70 presumed dead after severe storms sweep across South, Midwest

Over 70 people are presumed dead after tornadoes and severe storms swept across states in the Midwest and southern parts of the U.S. Friday night into Saturday morning. 

The storms hit Kentucky, Illinois, Arkansas, Tennessee and Missouri, The Associated Press reported

Dozens were killed at a candle factory in Kentucky, according to Gov. Andy Beshear (D), who said the death toll could exceed 100.

“There were about 110 people in it at the time that the tornado hit it,” Beshear said Saturday. “We believe we’ll lose at least dozens of those individuals. It’s very hard, really tough, and we’re praying for each and every one of those families.”

Currently, 70 people are presumed to have died from the tornado in the factory.

“This has been the most devastating tornado event in our state’s history,” Beshear said.

At least one person was killed, five suffered major injuries, one incurred minor injuries and 20 were trapped after a tornado hit the Monette Manor nursing home in Arkansas, Craighead County Judge Marvin Day told The Associated Press.

A number of fatalities also occurred at an Amazon fulfillment center in Illinois, with at least 100 emergency vehicles responding to the scene after the roof and one of the walls collapsed.

“We’re deeply saddened by the news that members of our Amazon family passed away as a result of the storm in Edwardsville, IL. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their loved ones, and everyone impacted by the storm. We also want to thank all the first responders for their ongoing efforts on scene. We’re continuing to provide support to our employees and partners in the area.” Kelly Nantel, an Amazon spokesperson, said in a statement to The Hill. 

Dean Flener, spokesman for the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, said there were three confirmed deaths in the state from weather-related events, according to the AP. 

One died and two others were injured after a building collapsed in Missouri due to severe weather.

President Biden offered his condolences to the states affected by the storms and has said the federal government will offer assistance where it is needed.

“This morning, I was briefed on the devastating tornadoes across the central U.S. To lose a loved one in a storm like this is an unimaginable tragedy. We’re working with Governors to ensure they have what they need as the search for survivors and damage assessments continue,” Biden said. 

The White House said Biden will continue to be briefed on the developing damages and loss of life from the storms throughout Saturday.

Updated 12:01 p.m.

Tags Joe Biden Natural Disaster Tornadoes in the United States

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