Crews of rescuers continue to search for those missing after the devastating tornadoes that hit the United States.
In Kentucky alone, 22 deaths were confirmed Saturday night, including 11 in and around Bowling Green. But authorities say more than 70 people may have died when a tornado touched down more than 200 miles in the state. The number could eventually exceed 100 in 10 or more counties.
Dozens of people were killed, and communities were devastated when rescue workers searched for debris fields in the central United States after a hurricane struck.
A hurricane produced a track that could compete with the longest on record when a hurricane front tore down a candle factory, crushed a nursing home, and passed through Amazon's distribution center.
"I pray for another rescue. I pray there will be another or two," Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said as crews scoured the wreckage of the Mayfield candle factory, where 110 people were working late Friday when the storm hit. Forty of them were rescued.
"We had to, at times, crawl over the victims to get to the living victims," said Jeremy Creason, city fire chief and director of EMS.
In Kentucky alone, 22 people were confirmed dead Saturday night, including 11 in and around Bowling Green. But Beshear said more than 70 people might have died when a tornado touched down for more than 200 miles (320 kilometers) in his state and that the death toll could eventually exceed 100 in 10 or more counties.
The death toll in five states includes six in Illinois, where an Amazon facility was targeted. Four in Tennessee; Two in Arkansas, where a nursing home was destroyed. And two in Missouri.
If early reports are confirmed, the tornado "will likely go down in history as one of the most violent in American history," said Victor Gensini, an extreme weather researcher at Northern Illinois University.
The longest hurricane on record, in March 1925, traveled about 220 miles (355 kilometers) over Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana. But Gensini said the storm would have descended about 250 miles (400 kilometers). He said the storm was even more significant because it came in December when cold weather usually restricts tornadoes.
Debris from destroyed buildings and crushed trees crushed the ground in Mayfield, a town of about 10,000 in western Kentucky. Twisted sheet metal, torn electrical wires, and wrecked vehicles lined the streets. The windows and roofs of the buildings that were still standing were blown off.
Those missing at the candle factory included Janine Denise Johnson Williams, 50, a mother of four, whose relatives were waiting at the scene on Saturday.
"It's Christmas, and she works at a place that's making gift candles," said her brother, Darryl Williams. "Give up the gift of life to give a gift. We haven't heard anything, and I'm not bragging about anything. But I'm expecting the worst. "
She said Johnson Williams called her husband overnight to report that the weather was getting worse the last time anyone heard from him.
Kyanna Parsons Perez, a factory worker, was trapped 5 feet (about 1.5 meters) under the rubble for at least two hours until rescuers released her.
In an interview with NBC's Aaj, he described it as "the most horrific event he has ever experienced." "I never thought I'd make it.
Just before the tornado hit, the building's lights flickered. He felt a gust of wind, his ears started popping, and then, "Boom. Everything fell apart". People started screaming, and she heard other workers praying.