MAYFIELD (Ky.) — In Kentucky, residents in counties where tornadoes caused the deaths of dozens could remain without heat, water, or electricity for up to a week, officials warned Monday. This warning came as the death toll grew in five states that were hit by the swarming twisters.
Kentucky authorities stated that the destruction caused by Friday’s storms was hampering their ability to count the damages. The tornado that decimated a nursing home in Arkansas and severely damaged an Amazon distribution centre in Illinois, causing severe damage to the infrastructure and spreading its deadly effects across Tennessee and Missouri left at least 88 people dead.
As Kentucky continued to search for missing persons, efforts were made to repair the power grid, shelter those who lost their homes, and deliver drinking water.
Kentucky Governor. Andy Beshear announced that shelter was being provided by state parks lodges.
Mayfield was one of the most severely affected towns. Those who survived experienced a high in 50s and a low below freezing Monday, without utilities.
“Our infrastructure is so destroyed. There is no water. The water tower that was supposed to be our water tower has been destroyed. Our wastewater management system was destroyed, and the city has no natural gas. So that’s why we don’t have any reliance on them,” Mayfield Mayor Kathy Stewart O’Nan stated on CBS Mornings. “So that’s purely survival for so many people at this point.”
According to poweroutage.us data, nearly all of Mayfield’s homes and businesses were without electricity. According to Michael Dossett, Kentucky Emergency Management Director, more than 10,000 homes and businesses are without water and 17,000 are under boilwater advisories.
The worst affected state in was Kentucky. This cluster of twisters occurred in several states. It is remarkable that they happened at a time when tornadoes are usually limited by cold weather. Monday’s death toll was at least 74, Beshear stated, giving the first official count.
According to Kevin Kirby, Warren County coroner, eleven people were killed in Bowling Green, Kentucky on the same street. Two infants were also among five relatives who died nearby.
Beshear cautioned that it might take several days to locate the complete death toll. Door-to-door searches may not be possible in certain places.
“With this level of destruction and rubble, it might be a week before we have a final total on the number lost lives,” said the governor.
At first, 70 people were believed to have died at the Mayfield Consumer Products candle factory. However, the company stated Sunday that eight deaths had been confirmed, and eight others were still missing. More than 90 people had been found. Bob Ferguson, a company spokesperson, stated that many employees had gathered in a tornado shelter and then fled the site. It was difficult to reach them because the phone service was down.
Mayfield is a small city in western Kentucky that has about 10,000 inhabitants. The ground was covered in debris from burned buildings and shredded trees. Streets were littered with twisted sheet metal, downed electric lines, and vehicles that had been damaged. The buildings that remained standing were destroyed by windows and their roofs were torn off.
Authorities said that five twisters struck Kentucky, one of which had a long route of approximately 200 miles (322 km).
The deaths in Kentucky were not the only result of the tornadoes. Six people died in Illinois where the Amazon distribution centre in Edwardsville was damaged. Four others were killed in Tennessee. Two in Arkansas where the nursing home was also destroyed. Arkansas Governor Jay Nixon said that workers had shielded the residents from the storms with their bodies. Missouri was the other victim.
Monday’s announcement by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (FSHA) was that an investigation has been opened into the collapse at Amazon in Illinois.
Kelly Nantel, Amazon’s Illinois governor, said that the Illinois warehouse was built in accordance with code. J.B. Pritzker stated that there would be an investigation into the possibility of updating code due to “serious change in climate” across the country. This appears to have led to stronger tornadoes.
Near Mayfield, 67 people spent Sunday evening at Wingo’s church, which was serving as a shelter. 40 additional people were expected to arrive on Monday. The organizers were looking for a laundry truck and an outdoor shower to provide shelter for the many displaced people who will need it. Volunteers were also scrambling for socks and underwear.
Cynthia Gargis (51), a Mayfield resident for many years, is now staying with her daughter. She visited the shelter to help friends who had lost their homes and to provide support.
She said, “I don’t know how we’ll ever get over it.” It won’t be the same.
Glynda Glover (82), said that she didn’t know how long she would be staying at the Wingo shelter. Her apartment was uninhabitable because the wind blew through the windows and covered it with asphalt and glass.
She said that she would stay there until they return to “normal” and she didn’t know what “normal” was.
Dawson Springs was another town that was devastated by the storms. Homes were reduced to rubble, trees fell, and littered the landscape for at least a mile.
It looks like a bomb went off. “It’s just completely demolished in some areas,” Jack Whitfield Jr., Hopkins County judge-executive said.
He said that more than 60% of the town’s homes and hundreds of other properties were in “beyond repair”.
He said, “A complete recovery is going to take many years.”
Tim Morgan, a volunteer chaplaith for the Hopkins County Sheriff’s Department said that he’s seen the effects of hurricanes and tornadoes before but not like this.
“Just absolute decimation. He said that there is a whole hill of houses that are now 3 feet high.
Schreiner reported in Dawson Springs, Kentucky. Kristin Hall, Seth Borenstein and Zeke Miller in Washington contributed to this report. Travis Loller in Nashville, Tennessee, Rebecca Reynolds in Louisville, Kentucky and Jonathan Drew in Durham (North Carolina) also contributed.