Tornadoes in Kentucky: the images of the devastation

The Four-State Tornado
Historical damage
A bleak outlook
Number of victims undetermined (for the time being)
Kentucky, the hardest hit
Historical impact
The shirt on your back
Trapped workers
No water and no electricity
Many areas affected
Hundreds of thousands of citizens
No supplies and no possessions
The Amazon warehouse
Declaration of emergency
The worst tornado in a century
A power never seen before
Awaiting the data
The Four-State Tornado

According to experts, the so-called 'Four-State Tornado' is the most devastating in US history.

Historical damage

The images it has left behind are devastating and have prompted President Joe Biden to declare a state of emergency in Kentucky, where the damage - both material and personal - has been tremendously high.

A bleak outlook

It has been a devastating weekend for the country. A historic series of tornadoes has left dozens of people dead in the Midwestern United States. Up to 32 tornadoes are estimated to have touched down in the evening of Friday 10th December.

Number of victims undetermined (for the time being)

The worst thing about this meteorological disaster is that the number of victims may be rising, as bodies are expected to be found under the rubble. However, The Associated Press have reported the death toll could be lower than expected - not exceeding the hundreds as initially thought, but still possibly reaching a tragic 50 deaths.

Kentucky, the hardest hit

In fact, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear initially estimated that in his state alone, the death toll could rise significantly. “We are praying that maybe original estimates of those we have lost were wrong. If so, it’s going to be pretty wonderful,” the governor said according to The Guardian.

Historical impact

To get an idea of the magnitude of the tornadoes, Andy Beshear explained how one of the tornadoes touched down, travelled 200 miles, and devastated everything in its path. It is the most powerful tornado in Kentucky's history.

The shirt on your back

The fiercest tornado to hit this weekend originated in Arkansas, travelling distances never seen before. Some locals only had time to grab what few items they could and left with only the shirt on their back. “The very first thing that we have to do is grieve together and we’re going to do that before we rebuild together,” Beshear said.

Trapped workers

An example of this devastation can clearly be seen in Mayfield, a town with just over 10,000 inhabitants. It saw one of the tornadoes sweep through a candle factory where there were more than a hundred workers at the time.

No water and no electricity

Kathy Stewart, the mayor of Mayfield, has confirmed that many areas of the municipality are without water and electricity because of the damage.

Many areas affected

They were not the only ones. In addition to Kentucky, tornadoes have ripped through parts of Arkansas, Illinois, Missouri, Mississippi and Tennessee.

Hundreds of thousands of citizens

According to the data given on website Poweroutage, more than 135,000 citizens in Tennessee were affected by the power cut, while in Kentucky around 70,000 were affected.

No supplies and no possessions

These outages were also widespread in parts of Texas, Michigan and Wisconsin.

The Amazon warehouse

Another complicated case was the Amazon warehouse in Edwardsville, Illinois, where dozens of employees were trapped inside when the building collapsed following a tornado. According to Bloomberg, many have claimed that if they had been able to have their phones with them, they would have been prepared for the devastation and got out of harms way quicker.

Declaration of emergency

In response to this devastating natural event, Joe Biden has approved the declaration of an emergency in Kentucky to prioritise assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

"An unimaginable tragedy"

During his visit to Delaware, the US president called the events an "unimaginable tragedy", pledging to help those affected "in whatever way necessary".

The worst tornado in a century

As reported by NWS, in March 1925, a three-state tornado passed through Missouri, southern Illinois and southwestern Indiana. It travelled more than 350 km, killed nearly 700 people and injured more than 2,000.

A power never seen before

This past weekend's event, in addition to hitting four states, has covered 400 km. The total number of casualties and injuries remains to be seen.

Awaiting the data

What is clear is that the tornadoes of recent days have been the most destructive and severe in the history of the United States in the last century. The Guardian quoted Biden as saying: “All I know is that the intensity of the weather across the board has some impact as a consequence of the warming of the planet. The specific impact on these specific storms, I can’t say at this point.”

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