MAYFIELD, Ky. — Rescue workers across the middle of the country combed through wreckage for survivors Saturday after a horde of tornadoes ripped a catastrophic swath from Arkansas through Kentucky. Scores of people were killed in the storms, and officials warned that the toll was almost certain to rise as they sifted through the ruins.
The tornadoes tore through at least six states Friday night, including Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee, said Bill Bunting, operations chief at the Storm Prediction Center, part of the National Weather Service. They crumbled metal like paper, swatted down concrete buildings and threw a freight train off its track.
The tornado outbreak killed people who were working the Friday night shifts at a candle factory in Kentucky, where scores are believed to have died, and at an Amazon warehouse in Illinois, where at least six people were killed and where recovery operations were continuing. Officials said Saturday that they did not know how many workers at the warehouse were unaccounted for but that they expected recovery efforts to continue for three more days.
Hundreds of thousands of people were without power Saturday, according to reports compiled by PowerOutage.us.
In a speech Saturday afternoon in Delaware, where he was spending the weekend, President Joe Biden said his administration would do “everything it can possibly do to help” the states that had sustained serious damage in the tornado outbreak.
Several tornadoes touched down in Kentucky, one of them traveling for more than 200 ruinous miles. At least 70 people had been killed in the state, a toll that was likely to rise.
Although the destruction was spread throughout western Kentucky, much of the estimated death toll came from a single building, the Mayfield Consumer Products candle factory, just southwest of the small city of Mayfield. Officials described an almost unfathomable level of destruction there.
Mayfield, a town of around 10,000 people in a western corner of the state known as the Jackson Purchase, was the site of some of the worst destruction of the outbreak. On Saturday, the city’s grid of narrow streets was a perilous maze of downed power lines and rubble, with the insides of buildings spilling out over the sidewalks.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.
HOW TO HELP
AMERICAN RED CROSS: The American Red Cross is supporting those affected by the tornadoes that happened throughout the Midwest Friday and Saturday. A $10 donation may quickly be sent by texting REDCROSS to the number 90999.
Donors may also call (800) 733-2767 or visit redcross.org.
The Red Cross reports it has a low blood supply, and blood donations are needed. Click here for more information on how to donate.
TEAM WESTERN KENTUCKY TORNADO RELIEF FUND: Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear has launched a statewide relief fund to assist victims in that state. Click here for details on giving to Team Western Kentucky.
SALVATION ARMY: The Salvation Army is accepting donations for the victims of the tornado destruction. Click here for giving online to the Salvation Army.
SAMARITAN’S PURSE: The Christian organization Samaritan’s Purse has already sent a semi-tractor trailer full of relief supplies to various parts of the Midwest affected by the tornadoes and has plans to send more. To donate to help the victims through this organization, click here.
WORLD VISION: A Christian organization called World Vision is deploying volunteers from area churches to support those affected by the tornado outbreak. Money sent to World Vision will purchase supplies those churches will distribute, including blankets, heaters, food and more.
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