Night tornadoes hit Kentucky in the U.S.: authorities confirmed at least 50 dead.
Governor Andy Beshear announced that the death toll could rise. "The Mayfield community was devastated," he reported.
At least 50 people died in Kentucky in tornadoes declared this Saturday by the governor of that American state, Andy Beshear.
"I'm afraid there is more than 50 dead in Kentucky (...).Probably between 70 and 100 (deceased), it's devastating," He said during a press conference.
Nighttime tornadoes are twice as likely to cause death, as described by the National Office for Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). In addition, they are challenging to forecast, see, and respond to because much of the population is asleep when they occur.
The governor stated that the Mayfield community was devastated. "It has been one of the most difficult nights in the history of Kentucky," he stressed.
Beshear described the tragedy as the "most serious tornado event in state history "While the authorities confirmed the collapse of several buildings in one of the most affected localities, the community of Mayfield, in southwestern Kentucky, according to local police officer Sarah Burgess in statements to the NBC affiliate, Lex18.
The Kentucky Division of Emergency Management director, Michael Dossett, witnessed a tornado that touched down for more than 250 kilometers across four states and has warned that the wave of tornadoes this weekend could be the largest of the last 45 years in the state.
Through his Twitter account, Governor Beshear reported that "he declared a state of emergency due to the extensive damage caused by tornadoes in several counties in western Kentucky ."
For his part, Chris Jackson, who began his chase of the tornado in Arkansas, arrived in Mayfield on Friday night to a scene of devastation. He said he saw the walls of commercial warehouses, including the candle factory, "completely flattened ."
"Everything that surrounds us, as far as we could see, is destroyed," he said while stating that "this is, hands down, the worst tornado" he has ever seen. It has been chasing storms for seven years.
A severe storm outbreak of this intensity is rare in December when the warm and unstable air needed to fuel intense storms is often limited. But record heat sweeping across the eastern third of the country created a storm environment more typical of March or April than December.
The storm also swept through a massive warehouse in the U.S. state of Illinois on Friday night, authorities said, with local media reporting that about 100 workers were trapped inside.
Officials were working to rescue employees at the facility who were on the night shift processing orders before Christmas.
The Collinsville Emergency Management Agency described it as a "mass casualty incident" with "multiple trapped subjects ."
A tornado warning had been in effect in the area at the incident.
Images shared on U.S. news channels, and social media showed that a large part of the facility's roof came off. At the same time, one of the walls collapsed into the building, with debris scattered throughout the site. It was not immediately clear if anyone was injured or killed.
Meanwhile, Illinois Governor JB Pritzer said: "My prayers are with the people of Edwardsville tonight. Our Illinois State Police and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency coordinate closely with local officials, and I will continue to monitor the situation.
In Arkansas, one person died, and 20 others were trapped after a tornado hit the Monette Manor nursing home, U.S. media reported.
The official County Craighead, Marvin Day, told local news channels that rescuers had removed successfully trapped in the building while the structure was "practically destroyed."
In Tennessee, at least two people were killed in incidents related to the storm; an emergency management official told local media.