Structures that stood for years were toppled and people trapped underneath the debris as a series of tornadoes raced through the U.S. Midwest and South on Friday night, Reuters reported. Kentucky was the worst hit by the tornadoes that also rampaged the states of Illinois, Tennessee, Missouri, Arkansas, and Mississippi.
Kentucky Governor, Andy Beshear called the tornadoes "the deadliest ever to have run through Kentucky," Sky News reported. According to Beshear, Kentucky was hit by four tornadoes, the first of which traveled more than 277 miles (365 km) across the state.
The roof of a candle factory in Mayfield, Kentucky had collapsed and mass casualties are expected. 110 people were inside the factory but only 40 had been rescued before it was reduced to rubble. Beshear told Reuters that it would be a miracle to find anyone else alive under the debris.
Scott McClellan, a trained storm spotter shared images of the premises on his Twitter account.
While tornadoes are an unlikely event this time of the year, a series of overnight thunderstorms formed a supercell storm in northeast Arkansas, Reuters reported. Also called rotating thunderstorm, supercell storms have a deep, rotating updraft that is persistent and tend to last for two to four hours. Unusually high temperatures and humidity contributed to the extreme weather that moved from Arkansas and Missouri to Tennessee and Kentucky, Reuters reported.
Illinois that lies to the north of the region was also affected as the walls of a 500,000 square foot Amazon warehouse in Edwardsville collapsed. Reuters reported the concrete walls were 11-inch thick and ran the length of a football field. The roof of the warehouse was ripped and even as 45 Amazon employees managed to leave the facility, many were caught by surprise and sought shelter wherever they could, including bathrooms.
Six people have been confirmed dead at the facility so far and the authorities have stopped rescue efforts since. The exact number of missing persons is still not known since Amazon did not have the count of persons at the facility, Reuters reported.
President Joe Biden has declared an emergency in Kentucky and has sought details from the Environmental Protection Agency on the role of climate change in the catastrophe, Reuters reported.