Dec. 11 (UPI) — Tornadoes ripped through the middle of the country overnight, possibly killing more than 50 in Kentucky while more died after an Amazon warehouse facility collapsed in Edwardsville, Ill.
The tornado outbreak across the Midwest and South after nightfall Friday caused a wide range of damage from Texas to Indiana, affecting some 16 million people across nine states, according to AccuWeather.
The storm was blamed for power outages Saturday morning, including more than 132,000 in Tennessee, 67,000 in Kentucky and another 61,000 in Indiana, according to Power Outage.us.
A candle manufacturing factory with about 110 people inside was hit by a tornado in Mayfield, Ky. Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said he believes dozens lost their lives in that incident alone.
“This is going to be some of the worst tornado damage that we’ve seen in a long time,” Beshear told WLKY-TV early Saturday. “This is likely to be the most severe tornado outbreak in our state’s history. We believe our death toll from this event will exceed 50 Kentuckians and probably end up 70 to 100.”
Beshear declared a state of emergency and activated the Kentucky National Guard and state police to respond to the affected sites.
At least two people died when a tornado hit an Amazon warehouse in Edwardsville, Ill. The Pontoon Beach Police Department said about 30 workers were rescued from the building after it was damaged.
“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,” Amazon said, according to KMOV-TV.
One person died after another tornado damaged a nursing home in the Jonesboro, Ark., area. Craighead County officials said five people were seriously injured and at least 20 trapped at the Monette Nursing Home.
Several semi-trailer trucks were overturned on Interstate 55 near Caruthersville, Mo., from a tornado while another death was reported in Leachville, Ark., after a twister heavily damaged several buildings.