More than 80 people have been confirmed dead, with the death toll expected to rise following Kentucky’s “deadliest tornado event.”
Governor Andy Beshear, 44, appeared on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday, where he said the number of deaths is anticipated to exceed over 100 people. He referred to the confirmation process as “slow” during the appearance.
The state was hit with devastating tornadoes late Friday and early Saturday as powerful storms rolled over central and southern sections of the country. Beshear verified that one of the tornadoes was on the ground for 227 miles, and 200 were in Kentucky.
“This is the deadliest tornado event we have ever had,” he told host Jake Tapper. “I think it’s going to be the longest and deadliest tornado event in U.S. history.”
"I know we've lost more than 80 Kentuckians. That number is going to exceed more than 100. This is the deadliest tornado event we've ever had," says Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear on the tornado aftermath. https://t.co/wVBWOeoDSG #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/OgEjXrnejm
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) December 12, 2021
He said that some towns “are just gone.” On Saturday, the governor of Kentucky declared a state of emergency. Beshear called on 181 members of the National Guard to assist in the areas that were hit the hardest. He also wrote to President Joe Biden, asking for an “immediate federal emergency declaration,” which was granted.
The tornado hit a candle factory with 110 people inside, primarily residents of Mayfield. Only 40 people have been rescued. Beshear said, “it would be a miracle” if anyone else was pulled out alive. He described the site as covered in 15 feet of steel and cars.