Kentucky authorities claimed that the destruction caused by Friday night's storms was preventing them from accurately tally their losses. Officials believe that 64 people died in Kentucky alone. However, officials are optimistic that the death toll will be lower as it appears that many more people fled a Mayfield, Kentucky candle factory. While the search for missing persons continued, efforts were made to repair the power grid, shelter those who lost their homes, and deliver drinking water.
Kentucky Governor. Andy Beshear announced that shelter was being provided by state parks lodges.
Mayfield was one of the most severely affected towns. Those who survived experienced a high in 50s and a low below freezing Monday, without utilities.
"Our infrastructure is so destroyed. There is no water. The water tower that was supposed to be our water tower has been destroyed. Our wastewater management system was destroyed, and the city has no natural gas. So that's why we don't have any reliance on them," Mayfield Mayor Kathy Stewart O'Nan stated on CBS Mornings. "So that's purely survival for so many people."
According to poweroutage.us in the state, nearly 26,000 homes and businesses had lost electricity. According to Kentucky Emergency Management Director Michael Dossett, more than 10,000 homes and businesses are without water and 17,000 are under boilwater advisories.
Dossett warned that recovery could take years in some of the most difficult-hit areas.
He said, "This will continue for many years to come."
Kentucky was the most severely affected by the tornado cluster that swept through several states. This is remarkable considering they occurred at a time when the weather is usually cold and does not allow for tornadoes to occur. Governor Andy Beshear said that at least 64 people were killed there. Andy Beshear announced Monday that the state had completed its first count of the deceased. At least 14 more deaths were reported in Illinois, Tennessee and Arkansas.
Beshear stated that "with this amount of damage, rubble and debris, it might be a week or more before we have an accurate count of the number of lives lost."
Initial fears that 70 people might have been killed in the Mayfield Consumer Products candle plant were unfounded. However, the company announced Sunday that eight deaths had been confirmed, eight were still missing and more than 90 were found.
Bob Ferguson, a company spokesperson, said that many employees were in the tornado shelter. After the storm passed they fled the plant and returned to their homes. They were difficult to reach at first due to no power and no phone line. As we search their homes, we hope to locate more of the eight missing.
Mayfield is a small city in western Kentucky that has about 10,000 inhabitants. The ground was covered in debris from burned buildings and shredded trees. Streets were littered with twisted sheet metal, downed electric lines and vehicles that had been damaged. The buildings that remained standing were destroyed by windows and their roofs were torn off.
According to Fire Chief Jeremy Creason, firefighters had to rip open their stations to move vehicles around.
His employees were described as "words cannot describe their bravery and selflessness," he stated. "We had to navigate through all of the debris that was littering our streets. We responded with ambulances with three- and four-wheeled tires.
Authorities said that four twisters struck Kentucky, one of which had a long route of approximately 200 miles (322 km).
The deaths of six people in Kentucky were not the only result of the tornadoes. An Amazon distribution center was damaged in Edwardsville, Illinois. Four others died in Tennessee. Two in Arkansas. A nursing home was also destroyed. Governor Jay Nixon said that workers protected residents by shielding them with their bodies. Two in Missouri.
Pope Francis expressed sadness at the "devastating effect" of the tornadoes. Pope Francis sent a telegram Monday to Cardinal Pietro Parolin, his secretary of state to the Vatican, offering prayers for those who lost their lives, comfort to those grieving, and strength to all those who were affected by this terrible tragedy.
Schreiner reported in Dawson Springs, Kentucky. Kristin Hall, Zeke Miller, Seth Borenstein and Dino Hazell, all Associated Press writers, reported from Mayfield. Travis Loller, Nashville, Tennessee, and Rebecca Reynolds, Louisville, Kentucky also contributed to this report.