Kentucky Gov. Beshear calls tornado 'worst, most devastating, most deadly' in state history

The Republican governor says at least 70 dead, death toll could reach 100

Updated: December 11, 2021 - 7:03pm

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said Saturday that the deadly tornado outbreak that occurred in that state on Friday and into Saturday was the "worst, most devastating, most deadly tornado event" in the state's history. 

Beshear, who earlier in the day estimated that at least 70 state residents were dead after tornadoes and severe weather roared through the South overnight, subsequently said he believed the death toll could "rise significantly," possibly to over 100 fatalities. 

The level of devastation "is unlike anything I have ever seen," he said earlier in the day. 

Beshear said one tornado—part of a multi-state outbreak that saw numerous powerful tornados rip apart towns and leave massive devastation in their wake—left a 200-mile trail of destruction that included a candle factory in Mayfield that was obliterated as the night shift was at work.

Tennessee reported three deaths in connection to the storms, while an Arkansas nursing home reported an additional death due to a tornado outbreak. A possible fifth death in connection with the storms was reported in Missouri.

In Edwardsville, Ill., meanwhile, first responders were scrambling to ensure that no workers were trapped after the partial collapse of an Amazon storage center there. A massive wall in the facility fell over, taking much of the roof with it; several injuries were reported. 

Crews were still working with construction equipment early Saturday morning to confirm whether or not there were any employees still in the facility.