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80 dead in worst US tornado season this year

80 dead in worst US tornado season this year

Image Credit: Cheney Orr/Reuters

Tornadoes have ripped through parts of the southern United States, the brunt of which was borne by the state of Kentucky which has lost over 70 lives in what President Joe Biden has described as one of 'the worst' storm seasons on record. Dozens of tornadoes touched down in five states on Saturday and Sunday, leaving trails of devastation in their wake.

"This event is the worst, most devastating, most deadly tornado event in Kentucky's history," said Kentucky governor Andy Beshear, adding he fears "we will have lost more than 100 people."

"The devastation is unlike anything I have seen in my life, and I have trouble putting it into words," the governor told reporters. Houses have been reduced to rubble and power has been lost in many parts. A heartrending video on social media shows employees begging for help after being trapped in a collapsed candle factory in Mayfield. They were later rescued.

The official death toll stands at 83, including six workers at an Amazon warehouse in Illinois who were killed as the storm collapsed the building. No more survivors have been found at the site. It is expected to rise as rescue efforts are ongoing to save those trapped and retrieve dead bodies. Several also died at a nursing home in Monette, Arkansas and four were killed in Tenessee as the storm ripped through the area. A train car was ripped away and flung dozens of meters away by the tornado that passed through Earlington, Kentucky.

Saturday's tornado outbreak was triggered by a series of overnight thunderstorms, including a supercell storm that formed in northeast Arkansas. That storm moved from Arkansas and Missouri and into Tennessee and Kentucky. Scientists estimate that at least 30 tornadoes touched down in the same period across five states, with the worst one hitting Kentucky and travelling an estimated 227 miles wreaking havoc on its way.

"It's a tragedy," said a shaken Biden. "And we still don't know how many lives are lost and the full extent of the damage." He went on to promise extensive federal aid to the affected areas as well as ordering an investigation into the tornado warning system which should have prepared the citizens for such a storm.

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TAGS:USA#Texastexas stormWeathernatural disaster
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