UPDATED 12/13, 6:18 p.m. ET: CNN reports the death toll is at least 74. Gov. Andy Beshear told reporters the death toll figures come from emergency management officials and may differ from what others are reporting.
UPDATED 12/13, 10:35 a.m. ET: WLWT reported Monday morning that 64 people have been confirmed dead, with at least 105 still missing. The youngest known victim was just five months old, while the eldest so far was 86.
Gov. Andy Beshear said the amount of lives lost will increase in the coming days. “We’re still finding bodies. We have cadaver dogs in places they shouldn’t have to be in. … Currently, we believe there are at least 105 Kentuckians who are unaccounted for that we are still working to find,” Beshear said. He added, “More than 1,000 homes are gone—just gone. That assessment is going to take some time. I don’t think we’ve seen damage at this scale ever.”
The New York Timeswrites that at “several moments during Monday’s briefing, the governor appeared on the verge of tears.”
WLWT reports over 300 National Guard members are helping in the search, plus “hundreds of state employees and volunteers from across the nation.”
See original story below.
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear declared a state of emergency early Saturday morning after at least 50 people were killed from tornadoes that laid a path of destruction throughout the Midwest late Friday night.
“We’re going to lose over 50 people, probably closer to somewhere between 70 and 100,” Beshear said at a press conference. “It’s devastating.”
Beshear took to Twitter this morning to request that President Joe Biden declare a federal state of emergency. “This has been one of the toughest nights in Kentucky’s history, with multiple counties impacted and a significant loss of life,” he wrote. “I have declared a state of emergency and submitted a request to @POTUS for an immediate federal emergency declaration.”
The governor added, “I want to personally thank every local EMS employee, police officer, firefighter and first responder. And to all of our Kentucky families impacted by these devastating tornadoes, we want you to know we are here for you and we are praying for you.”
ABC News reports there were were at least 18 confirmed tornadoes across four states: Arkansas, Kentucky, Illinois and Missouri.
The city of Mayfield, Kentucky was hit particularly hard, including a candle manufacturing factory where roughly 110 employees were working when the tornado hit after 10:30 p.m. ET.
“This tornado event may surpass the 1974 super outbreak as one of the most deadly in Kentucky’s history,” Kentucky Emergency Management Director Michael Dossett said.
Per Fox News, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has also urged Biden to send federal assistance to Kentucky.
“I am praying for the lives lost and communities impacted by the tornado devastation throughout the Commonwealth,” McConnell said in a statement.
“Thank you to the first responders and the National Guard for their brave efforts amid this tragedy. As I continue to get reports from my staff, local and state officials, we will work with the entire Kentucky federal delegation to support Governor Andy Beshear’s request for federal assistance in order to aid these hard-hit communities with the funding and resources they need to rebuild.”
Sending love to his home state, Jack Harlow went on Instagram and Twitter to extend his support to local families dealing with the aftermath of the tornadoes. He wrote that he was “beyond grateful to wake up with my family safe and my hometown intact”:
“Positive energy and prayers to the families that lost loved ones last night,” Harlow wrote. “Sending love all over Kentucky.”