Deadly Tornadoes Rip Through Six States, Killing At Least 70 People

By Cherranda Smith

December 11, 2021

Photo: Getty Images

An estimated 30 tornadoes were tracked overnight Friday (December 10) across six states, leaving at least 70 people dead.

According to reports, the deadly storms ripped through communities in Arkansas, Tennessee, Illinois, Mississippi, Kentucky, and Missouri. So far, authorities have reported most of the deaths in Kentucky, though reports of loss of life have also come out of Illinois and Arkansas.

"We believe our death toll from this event will exceed 50 Kentuckians, probably end up closer to 100 lost lives," Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said during a news conference Saturday morning (December 11), calling the storms "the most severe tornado in Kentucky history."

Kentucky officials said at least four tornadoes hit the state –– one of the twisters stayed on the ground for more than 200 miles. Fifteen counties have reported damage, particularly in the western part of the state.

A candle factory in southwestern Kentucky was reduced to "a pile of rubble." More than 100 people were said to have been in the factory at the time the storm hit, with Beshear estimating "at least a dozen of those individuals" may lose their lives.

In Edwardsville, Illinois, an Amazon warehouse partially collapsed, leaving workers trapped inside. Police Chief Mike Fillback confirmed at least two people died inside the warehouse and rescue efforts are underway to get people out, though it's going slowly out of caution for the safety of the first responders on the scene.

"It's an utter disaster," Fillback told reporters. "You have concrete, and you have things hanging. It's quite windy outside, so things are unstable."

Amazon spokesperson Richard Rocha described the situation as a "devastating tragedy."

"Our thoughts, prayers, and deepest sympathies are with the victims, their loved ones, and everyone impacted. This is a devastating tragedy for our Amazon family and our focus is on supporting our employees and partners," Rocha said in a statement to CNN.

Widespread Power Outages Reported as Severe Weather Continues

At least 254,000 customers are reported to be without power across Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, and Arkansas as the threat of severe weather is expected to continue throughout the weekend.

Of those customers experiencing outages, over 130,000 are in Tennessee alone, according to PowerOutages.US.

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