Twisters Devastate Southeastern U.S.

Erin Lynch, Secretary

The article below was written December 12th, all information may not be up to date

Over the past few days, the residents of Kentucky have had to live through what may be their worst nightmare. The night of December 10th was devastating for many. Many tornadoes, the strongest being an EF3, tore through 6 states. The tornadoes most likely formed from strong thunderstorms in the southeastern area of the U.S. These disastrous events have many fearing that the overall death toll could climb to exceed 100.

Over the course of one night, more than 30 tornados had formed. These violent tornadoes originated from what was believed to be a super-cell. According to National Geographic, a super-cell is a thunderstorm that already has winds sustaining a rotation. These storms are extremely rare and only about one in one thousand thunderstorms are super-cells. To form one of the most deadliest tornadoes we have ever seen, a cluster of rotating thunderstorms developed off central Arkansas and, as the cluster continued to move, it was met with the ingredients for the perfect storm.

The tornadoes formed by the supercell are believed to set new records. One record setting tornado, or series of destructive tornadoes, is believed to have left a trail of about 250 miles. The twister (or twisters) cut through northeast Arkansas, southeast Missouri, northeast Tennessee, and western Kentucky leaving behind nothing but debris and ruin. If this is confirmed to be a lone tornado and not multiple, it will go down in history as the longest tornado in U.S. history along with being the first to ever run through a whopping 4 states. This twister of high intensity devastated many areas, even causing The National Weather Service to declare a tornado emergency on 8 locations. This unbelievable weather occurrence launched debris for 3 hours straight. The twister lofted homes clean off of their foundation, and left residents and their families in distress.

An area hit extremely hard was in Mayfield, Kentucky. This city was faced with the collapse of many large buildings. One includes a Mayfield Consumer Products Candle Factory. In this factory alone 110 people are thought to have been working. Over the past few days first responders have helped search the rubble. 40 have been pulled alive while 8 have been confirmed dead and 8 more remain missing from the candle factory. As a result of the storms overall, at least 90 have been killed, 80 of those deaths occurring in Kentucky. 

The appalling events of this past week have left families without homes, business owners without shops, and many with what seems like nothing. It is shocking how fast someone’s life can change. The families of those who passed, along with those who still unfortunately remain missing, are in my prayers.