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Tornadoes

The path of destruction in downtown Mayfield, Ky., Dec. 11, 2021, after a tornado traveled through the region overnight. Credit: Ryan C. Hermens/Lexington Herald-Leader via AP

At least 34 people across five U.S. states have been confirmed dead after a swarm of tornadoes tore through communities in the South and the Midwest over the weekend, according to ABC News.

There were at least 40 tornadoes reported across nine states between Friday (Dec. 10) night and early Saturday morning — unusual for December in the United States. Kentucky was the worst-hit state, with at least 20 confirmed fatalities, according to local officials.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear warned Sunday that the death toll from what he described as “the most devastating tornado event in our state’s history” could exceed 100, but then later said the tally might be closer to 50. Two of his relatives were among those killed.

Beshear said at least 300 members of the Kentucky National Guard have been deployed across the state to help remove debris and search for survivors as well as victims.

“We are still hoping for miracles,” the governor told ABC News’ David Muir during an interview Sunday. “We are finding people and every single moment is incredible.”

“This is going to take years to rebuild,” he added.

Among the dead were eight night-shift workers at a candle factory in Mayfield, a city of about 10,000 people in western Kentucky. There were 110 employees inside the Mayfield Consumer Products facility when a tornado closed in late Friday night. Ninety-four workers have been accounted for, while eight remain missing, Mayfield Consumer Products CEO Troy Propes told ABC News.

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