thousands of people without heating, water after tornadoes kills dozens | Chicago News


Video: Celena Roldán, CEO of the American Red Cross in Illinois, and Paul Sirvatka, storm chaser and meteorologist at the College of DuPage, discuss the deadly tornadoes that ravaged Illinois and five other states. (Directed by Paul Caine.)

MAYFIELD, Ky. (AP) – Residents of Kentucky counties, where tornadoes have killed dozens of people, could be without heat, water or electricity for weeks or more in freezing temperatures, have warned State officials Monday, as the toll of damage and death became clearer. in five states slammed by the swarm of tornadoes.

Kentucky officials said the level of destruction was hampering their ability to account for damage from Friday night’s storms. At least 88 people – including 74 in Kentucky – were killed by the tornado outbreak that also destroyed a nursing home in Arkansas, severely damaged an Amazon distribution center in Illinois, and spread its deadly effects in Tennessee and Missouri.

In Kentucky, as searches continued for those still missing, efforts also focused on repairing the power grid, sheltering those whose homes were destroyed, and providing clean water and d ‘other supplies.

“We are not going to let any of our families become homeless,” Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said, announcing that the lodges in state parks were being used to provide shelter.

In Mayfield, one of the hardest hit towns, those who survived faced a peak in the 1950s and a trough below zero on Monday with no utilities.

“Our infrastructure is so damaged. We don’t have running water. Our water tower has been lost. Our wastewater management has been lost and there is no more natural gas in the city. So we have nothing to trust there, ”Mayfield Mayor Kathy Stewart O’Nan said on“ CBS Mornings ”. “So it’s purely survival at this point for so many of our people.”

Across the state, about 26,000 homes and businesses were without power, according to, including almost all of those in Mayfield. More than 10,000 homes and businesses have no water, and another 17,000 are on boil water advisories, Michael Dossett, Kentucky’s director of emergency management, told reporters.

Kentucky was by far the worst affected in the cluster of tornadoes in several states, notable for they came at a time of year when cold normally limits tornadoes. At least 74 people have died in the state, Beshear said on Monday, offering the first specific tally of the dead.

In Bowling Green, Ky., 11 people have died on the same street, including two infants found among the bodies of five relatives near a residence, Warren County Coroner Kevin Kirby said.

Beshear warned it could take days longer to pin down the total death toll, with door-to-door searches not possible in some locations.

“With this amount of damage and rubble, it may be a week or even more before we have a final count of the number of lives lost,” the governor said.

Initially, up to 70 people feared death at the Mayfield Consumer Products candle factory, but the company said on Sunday that eight deaths had been confirmed and eight people were still missing, while more than 90 others were localized. Bob Ferguson, a spokesperson for the company, said many employees gathered in a tornado shelter, then left the site and were difficult to reach due to the outage of phone service.

Debris of destroyed buildings and ragged trees blanketed the ground in Mayfield, a town of about 10,000 people in western Kentucky. Twisted metal sheets, fallen power lines and wrecked vehicles lined the streets. Windows were blown out and roofs torn from buildings still standing.

Five tornadoes hit Kentucky in total, including one with an extraordinarily long journey of around 200 miles, authorities said.

In addition to the deaths in Kentucky, the tornadoes also killed at least six people in Illinois, where Amazon’s distribution center in Edwardsville was hit; four in Tennessee; two in Arkansas, where the retirement home was destroyed and the governor said workers were protecting residents with their own bodies; and two in Missouri.

The Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced Monday that it has opened an investigation into the Amazon warehouse collapse in Illinois.

Amazon’s Kelly Nantel said the Illinois warehouse was “built to code.” Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker said there would be an investigation into updating the code “given the severe climate change we’re seeing across the country” that appears to account for stronger tornadoes.

Not far from Mayfield, 67 people spent Sunday evening in a church serving as Wingo’s shelter, with 40 more due to arrive on Monday. Organizers were scrambling to find a portable outdoor shower and laundry truck, expecting that many displaced people would need a long-term place to stay. Volunteers also scrambled to meet more immediate needs, such as underwear and socks.

Longtime Mayfield resident Cynthia Gargis, 51, is staying with her daughter after the storm ripped off the front of her apartment and sucked almost everything inside. She came to the shelter to offer help and visit friends who have lost their homes.

“I don’t know, I don’t see how we can ever get over this,” she said. “It will never be the same again.

Glynda Glover, 82, said she had no idea how long she would stay at the Wingo Refuge: her apartment is uninhabitable because the wind blew the windows and covered her bed with glass and asphalt.

“I will stay here until we get back to what is normal,” she said, “and I don’t know what normal is anymore.”

On the outskirts of Dawson Springs, another storm-devastated town, homes have been reduced to rubble and trees toppled over, littering the landscape for at least a mile.

“Looks like a bomb went off. It’s just completely destroyed in some areas, ”said Jack Whitfield Jr., the Hopkins County executive judge.

He estimated that over 60% of the city, including hundreds of homes, was “beyond repair”.

“Full recovery is going to take years,” he said.

Tim Morgan, a volunteer chaplain with the Hopkins County Sheriff’s Department, said he has seen the aftermath of tornadoes and hurricanes before, but nothing like it.

“Just an absolute decimation. There is a whole hill of houses that are now 3 feet high, ”he said.


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