First quad-state tornado in history leaves 50 feared dead, another smashes Amazon warehouse
Abnormal weather, including what could possibly be the first quad-state tornado storm in US history has caused massive damage over several states. Meanwhile, a second tornado left at least 100 employees trapped at a collapsed Amazon warehouse in Illinois. According to storm watchers, a series of tornadoes ripped through Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky, and Tennessee, killing at least 50 people and leaving millions sheltering in place. Tornado warnings have also extended to Illinois, as storm chasers record multiple tornadoes in America's heartland.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said the death toll is expected to rise between 50 and 70. "We believe our death toll from this event will exceed 50 Kentuckians, probably end up closer to 70 to 100 lost lives," Beshear said at a briefing on Saturday morning. He called the storms that hit the state "the most severe tornado event in Kentucky's history."
Tragically, similar tornadoes landed in New Jersey in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, as the US witnessed one of its worst storm seasons in 2021. A tornado was also spotted in Annapolis, Maryland after Ida, captured on cellphones by several residents in the area. Months since deadly hurricanes left several states crippled, and cities like New York flooded, it appears the bad weather is only getting worse.
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On December 10, The Storm Prediction Center issued tornado watches for a total of nine states - from Texas to the Ohio valley. Several tornadoes have since made landfall, and the extreme weather has caused severe damage already. In Monette, Arkansas, two people were killed at a nursing home after it partially collapsed, injuring at least five others and trapping 20. Tragically, it appears more may be trapped in Illinois.
Arkansas double #tornado.— Delmonico Primo (@RhoPrimoLeonis) December 11, 2021
Gonna be a crazy #weather day. pic.twitter.com/fBVj9XeEp4
Around 100 trapped in Amazon warehouse
KMOV reporter Jenna Rea tweeted video footage from Amazon's warehouse in Edwardsville, Illinois. She said, "About a third of the warehouse is torn down and damaged from either straight by line winds or tornado," adding that there were several dozen emergency crews at the scene. She later added another to say "Special rescue teams from around the Metro East are on scene. Sources say there could be 100 or more people trapped inside. Law enforcement tells me this is a ‘mass casualty event’. No deaths or injuries confirmed."
#UPDATE— Jenna Rae (@journalismjenna) December 11, 2021
Special rescue teams from around the Metro East are on scene.
Sources say there could be 100 or more people trapped inside.
Law enforcement tells me this is a ‘mass casualty event’. No deaths or injuries confirmed. @KMOV
At the time of publication, rescue operations were put on hold with crews sheltering in place after warnings for another line of storms. Several reporters and eyewitnesses have captured the devastation in Edwardsville, with multiple photos now making their way on social media.
Right now, it is unclear just how severe the damage is, but Fox News reported it as "massive structural damage", which seems to be true based on social media photos. As the below tweet from Robert Cohen shows, it appears as if part of the warehouse has indeed collapsed.
Amazon distribution warehouse in Edwardsville, Ill. is partially collapsed after Friday tornado. pic.twitter.com/QUBKSYUIMP— Robert Cohen (@kodacohen) December 11, 2021
The entire St. Louis region is still under a tornado warning, as are many other counties across nine states covering at least 20 million people. Over 60,000 people in Arkansas and Missouri have been left without power as a result of the storms, according to reports. So far, the only deaths that have been reported are from the Arkansas nursing home, but with a level four warning in place, there are possibilities more could be reported.
If you live in any of the affected areas, please seek shelter immediately. You can keep track of the warnings via the National Weather Service, or through your local news service.