Dec 12, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Kentucky governor: More than 80 presumed dead, "entire towns flattened"

Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A view of the damage caused by tornadoes in Mayfield, Ky. Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Gov. Andy Beshear said more than 80 people are presumed dead in Kentucky after deadly tornadoes tore through the state Friday, causing catastrophic damage.

Driving the news: "This is the deadliest tornado event we've ever had" in the state, Beshear said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union."

What they're saying: "We have entire towns flattened," Beshear said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

  • "There’s not a camera lens big enough to show the path of absolute destruction," he continued. "People have lost everything."

Catch up quick: More than two dozen tornadoes reportedly touched down across Kentucky and five other states: Arkansas, Illinois, Missouri, Mississippi and Tennessee.

  • Radar imagery picked up tornado debris — pieces of homes and businesses —lofted to at least 30,000 feet by the extreme winds, and a weather station on the ground near Mayfield, Kentucky, recorded a wind gust of 107 mph at the time the tornado struck.

President Biden on Saturday issued an emergency declaration in Kentucky and ordered federal assistance to support recovery efforts after a tornado tore through the state killing at least 70 people.

  • Biden spoke with Beshear several times Saturday, most recently in the evening to get an update on the latest damage assessments and search and rescue efforts.
  • The president reaffirmed that the federal government will continue to offer assistance in whatever ways are needed.
  • Beshear declared a state of emergency on Saturday and activated the Kentucky National Guard to assist with rescue efforts.

Go deeper: Fatalities, property destruction and power outages in six states slammed by tornadoes

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