Tornadoes in Kentucky: the images of the devastation
According to experts, the so-called 'Four-State Tornado' is the most devastating in US history.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Kathy Stewart, the mayor of Mayfield, has confirmed that many areas of the municipality are without water and electricity because of the damage.
They were not the only ones. In addition to Kentucky, tornadoes have ripped through parts of Arkansas, Illinois, Missouri, Mississippi and Tennessee.
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.
These outages were also widespread in parts of Texas, Michigan and Wisconsin.
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.
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.
During his visit to Delaware, the US president called the events an "unimaginable tragedy", pledging to help those affected "in whatever way necessary".
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.
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.
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.”