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Death toll from Friday's tornadoes nears 80

Officials fear casualties will climb
Midwest Tornadoes Kentucky
Posted at 6:29 AM, Dec 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-13 15:28:25-05

More than 48 hours after severe storms caused significant damage across several southern and Midwestern states, officials are still trying to determine how many people lost their lives.

The state hardest hit by the storms was Kentucky, where several tornadoes damaged homes, commercial buildings, cars and planes in the western part of the state.

On Monday morning, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear says officials have confirmed that at least 64 Kentuckians died in Friday's storms, ranging in age from 5 months to 86 years old. Another 105 people are still missing.

Of those killed, 46 have been identified. Beshear added Monday that six minors were among those killed.

Officials have focused rescue and recovery efforts on a candle factory in Mayfield, a rural town in western Kentucky. Thus far, the company that operates the factory confirms that eight workers were killed in the storms Friday, and eight people are still missing. A total of 94 workers have been accounted for.

Beshear said Monday that officials had initially feared far more people had been killed at the Mayfield factory.

The Associated Press says that the storms killed 14 others in Illinois, Tennessee, Arkansas and Missouri.

Aerial images taken over the weekend showed wide swaths of damage throughout the region — home after home, building after building completely leveled by Friday's storms.

Thousands of people in the area are currently without homes.

"We're going to have over 1,000 homes that are gone, just gone," Beshear said over the weekend.

Furthermore, Beshear said Monday that 28,000 customers in Kentucky are still without power. Another 6,000 customers are still without power in nearby Tennessee and Arkansas, according to PowerOutage.US.

President Joe Biden will be briefed on recovery efforts Monday by FEMA and Homeland Security officials. Biden on Sunday approved disaster declarations in Kentucky, freeing up federal funds for recovery efforts.