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Tornado recovery efforts continue in Kentucky, neighboring states as death toll rises to 88

Kentucky tornadoes
Posted at 8:18 AM, Dec 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-14 12:27:14-05

Communities in western Kentucky and in nearby states resumed rescue and recovery efforts Tuesday from last week's outbreak of tornadoes that killed dozens of people.

Officials are still trying to assess just how much damage the storms afflicted when they blew through the region late Friday night.

On Tuesday, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear told reporters that the death toll from the storms in his state remained at 74. However, he said that there were "unquestionably" more than 100 people still unaccounted for or missing.

Beshear noted that the ages of the deceased ranged in age from two months to 98 years old. Twelve of the victims killed in the storm were children.

The Associated Press reports that the storms killed 14 people in Arkansas, Illinois, Missouri and Tennessee, bringing the total death toll from the weather events to 88.

Beshear added that the company that operated a candle factory in Mayfield that was destroyed during the storms says it has accounted for every employee that was working Friday evening. Eight people were killed at that factory, though officials initially feared the death toll was much higher.

The governor said Tuesday that the state was still working to verify the company's claims. He noted the state had deployed cadaver dogs to the area, though the dogs did not detect any human remains yesterday.

"The owners believe they have located everyone, we hope that is true," Beshear said.

Beshear on Monday estimated that as many as 1,000 homes had been destroyed in Friday's storms, leaving an untold number of Kentuckians homeless. He said Tuesday the state provided 152 rooms to Kentuckians in need of housing the previous evening.

As of early Tuesday afternoon, PowerOutage.us reports that about 25,000 customers in the Bluegrass State are still without power.

President Joe Biden will travel to Kentucky on Wednesday. He is expected to visit Mayfield and Dawson Springs, two of the hardest-hit areas in Kentucky.