Tornadoes, storms hit the United States; Kentucky governor fears dozens dead
Tornadoes and inclement weather on Friday night caused extensive damage in several states, destroying a candle factory in Kentucky, an Amazon facility in Illinois, a nursing home in Arkansas, and many homes and homes. buildings. Dozens of deaths are to be feared and several were confirmed on Saturday morning.
Many people were feared dead at the plant in Mayfield, Ky., Where Governor Andy Beshear called the situation “tragic” at a press conference on Saturday morning.
“There were around 110 people inside by the time the tornado hit it,” Beshear said. “We believe our death toll from this event will exceed 50 Kentuckians and likely end up 70 to 100.”
The governor added, “It is very hard, very hard, and we are praying for each of these families.”
At least one person has died after severe weather hit an Amazon facility in Edwardsville, Ill., Police Chief Mike Fillback told reporters on Saturday morning. The roof of the building was torn off and a wall the length of a football field collapsed.
Two people from the facility were taken by helicopter to hospitals in St. Louis for treatment, Fillback said. The chief did not know which hospitals the two had been taken to, or their conditions. Edwardsville is approximately 25 miles (40 kilometers) east of St. Louis.
It was not immediately clear whether the damage was caused by straight line storms or a tornado, but the National Weather Service office near St. Louis reported “radar confirmed tornadoes” in the Edwardsville area. around the time of the collapse.
About 30 people who were in the building were taken by bus to nearby Pontoon Beach Police Station for assessment.
Early Saturday, rescue teams were still sorting through the rubble. Fillback said the process could take several hours longer. Cranes and backhoes were brought in to help move the debris.
The Belleville News-Democrat reported that Amazon’s distribution center in Edwardsville opened with two warehouses in 2016, with 1.5 million square feet of space. Warehouses are used to store items until they are shipped to mail order customers.
“The safety and well-being of our employees and partners is our top priority at this time,” Amazon spokesman Richard Rocha said in a written statement Friday evening. “We are assessing the situation and will share additional information when it becomes available.”
Workers at a National Weather Service office had to take refuge when a tornado passed near their office in Weldon Spring, Missouri, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) west of St. Louis. One person died and two others were injured in the collapse of buildings near the towns of Defiance and New Melle, both only a few miles from the weather services office.
A tornado hit Monette Manor Nursing Home in Arkansas on Friday night, killing one and trapping 20 people inside as the building collapsed, Craighead County Judge Marvin Day told the Associated Press. Five people were seriously injured and a few others were slightly injured, he said. The retirement home has 86 beds.
Day said another nursing home about 20 miles away in Truman was badly damaged, but no injuries were reported. Residents were evacuated because the building is unsafe.
Three storm-related deaths have been confirmed in Tennessee, said Dean Flener, spokesperson for the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency. Two of the deaths were in Lake County and the third in Obion County, both in the northwest corner of the state.
In Kentucky, several buildings collapsed during inclement weather that hit Mayfield, said Sarah Burgess, a Kentucky State Police Soldier. She said several people were trapped inside a damaged candle factory and a change was underway when the storm hit. “The whole building is basically leveled,” she said.
Further east in Bowling Green, Western Kentucky University said on Twitter that emergency crews were assessing the severe damage from the storm and that no injuries were immediately reported. However, the school canceled the opening ceremonies that were scheduled for Saturday because the campus was without power.
“It is obvious that we have suffered significant wind damage,” Bowling Green Police spokesperson Ronnie Ward said in a telephone interview.
Rescue efforts in Bowling Green and elsewhere were hampered by debris strewn on the roads. Ward said many apartment complexes in Bowling Green suffered major structural damage and some factories collapsed during the storms.
“Right now we are focusing on the citizens, trying to reach out to everyone who needs us,” Ward said.