Devastation Reigns After Tornado Tears Through Kentucky

Devastation Reigns After Tornado Tears Through Kentucky

( – Over the weekend, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced it received more than 30 reports of tornadoes across 6 states during the night from December 10 to 11. The tornadoes ripped through Arkansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Missouri. Remarkably, one tornado remained on the ground in Kentucky for more than 200 miles. The Kentucky town of Mayfield got hit particularly hard.

Media outlets reported a tornado struck the town of 10,000 directly and killed eight residents working at a local candle factory.

Newsreels and photographs of the damage show buildings reduced to rubble, streets lined with trees and other debris, and roofs ripped from the tops of remaining buildings. The tornado also destroyed most of the town’s police cars and rendered the local fire station inoperable.

Officials initially estimated Kentucky’s total death toll at about 100. On Tuesday, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) announced a death count of 74, although many others are still missing. He also called the situation the “deadliest tornado system” in Kentucky history. In total, at least 88 people died in the storms across the six states.

The National Weather Service said it would take time before it could release an official estimate of the tornado’s strength. It did say the destruction left in its wake looked consistent with damage from a category F3 tornado, meaning its winds may have reached up to speeds of 206 mph.

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