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KY governor says he expects death toll from tornadoes to 'exceed 100'

Midwest Tornadoes
Posted at 8:01 AM, Dec 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-12 21:56:53-05

MAYFIELD, Ky. — The death toll following tornadoes and severe weather in Kentucky continues to climb.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said Sunday on CNN's State of the Union that he has received reports that show more than 80 people in the state were killed.

"That number is gonna exceed more than 100," he added. "This is the deadliest tornado event we've ever had. I think it's going to be the longest and deadliest tornado event in U.S. history."

In Mayfield, Kentucky, rescue efforts are being complicated by the fact that the city's main fire station and emergency services hub were also hit by the twister.

The twister carved a track that could rival the longest on record. Beshear said the tornado was on the ground for more than 200 miles.

"I've got towns that are gone, that are just, I mean, gone," Beshear said.

A candle factory in Mayfield appeared to take a direct hit. Beshear said 110 people were working inside at the time of the storms. He said about 40 were rescued but added that the building is completely leveled.

"It's now 15 feet deep of steel, car on top of where the roof was," Beshear said.

People who want to help can donate to the Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund. Beshear said the fund is managed by the state, and all the money will go to support the victims and their families.

"Sadly, the first expense is likely burial expenses, but to help those families grieve, we got to be with them as they grieve," Beshear said.