Rescue workers dig through rubble in search of survivors following devastating weekend tornadoes

“It’ll be a miracle if we pull anybody else out” of the collapsed candle factory, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said.

Published: December 12, 2021 4:17pm

Updated: December 12, 2021 4:38pm

Rescue workers are clearing rubble to attempt to find survivors across all affected states hit by devastating tornadoes.

“It’ll be a miracle if we pull anybody else out of that," Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear told reporters. "It’s now 15 feet deep of steel and cars on top of where the roof was. He  knows more than 80 Kentuckians have died, he said, but "that number is going to exceed more than 100."

A series of storms resulted in tornadoes Friday night into Saturday morning across Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi, Ohio, and Tennessee. The twisters tore across the United States, downing power lines, and resulting in the estimated deaths of more than 100 people in Kentucky alone. The twisters may have caught many residents off guard, as May through July are typically considered tornado season.

Kentucky was the worst hit. A candle factory in Mayfield, Ky., was destroyed, and 40 out of 110 employees were rescued shortly after the storm, the Associated Press reports.

“It was indescribable,” Kentucky Pastor Joel Cauley said. “It was almost like you were in a twilight zone. You could smell the aroma of candles, and you could hear the cries of people for help. Candle smells and all the sirens is not something I ever expected to experience at the same time.”

Kentucky District Judge Brian Crick also died, according to a statement from the Supreme Court of Kentucky.

Tens of thousands are without power, and in the homes that are standing, many are left without roofs, windows and doors. Many residents are concerned about the cold, as the Sunday afternoon high in Kentucky was in the 40's.

A St. Louis-area Amazon distribution center in Edwardsville, Illinois, was also hit and an estimated six people were killed. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos thanked first responders and called the disaster "tragic."

President Joe Biden also called the storms tragic and said he is going to ask the Environmental Protection Agency to determine if the storms are related to climate change. "All I know is that the intensity of the weather across the board has some impacts as a consequence of the warming of the planet and climate change," Biden said.

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