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The Latest Associated Press Updates on Friday Night’s Deadly Tornadoes

Bill Stephens

December 12th, 2021

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Crews search for the missing after devastating tornadoes

MAYFIELD, Ky. (AP) — Rescuers are combing through fields of wreckage from Friday night’s devastating tornado outbreak in the Midwest and South. In Kentucky alone, 22 were confirmed dead by late Saturday, including 11 in and around Bowling Green. The death toll stood at 36 across five states, but officials fear more than 100 may have actually died. The twister carved a track that could rival the longest on record. Mayfield, Kentucky, was walloped by the storm and rescue efforts in the city were complicated by the fact that the city’s main fire station and emergency services hub were also hit by the twister.

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In storm’s aftermath, Kentucky residents struggle with loss

MAYFIELD, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky residents affected by a monstrous twister are grappling with its force and destruction and sharing harrowing stories of survival. Gov. Andy Beshear says the number of deaths from Friday night’s tornado could exceed 100 across numerous counties. In the town of Mayfield, residents helped rescuers search for victims. Others awaited word on those who were missing. Jarred Holmes was supposed to have been working inside a candle factory when it was destroyed by the twister. But he says his fiancee had insisted he stay home Friday night because of the looming weather, possibly saving his life.

DEADLIEST TORNADOES-LIST

List of deadliest tornadoes in US since 1900

Officials have not yet determined how many people died in overnight tornadoes in several U.S. states — or exactly how many tornadoes struck. According to the National Weather Service, the deadliest tornado in the U.S. since 1900 occurred in 1925. On March 18 of that year, 695 people were killed when a tornado raked Missouri, Illinois and Indiana. That tornado was more than a mile wide at times and left 219 miles of destruction.

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EXPLAINER: Was tornado outbreak related to climate change?

WASHINGTON (AP) — Unusually warm temperatures and a storm system moving east linked to the La Nina weather pattern helped create the conditions necessary for the monstrous tornadoes and severe weather that tore through parts of the the Midwest and South. Tornadoes in December are unusual, but not unheard of. Scientists say figuring out how climate change is affecting the frequency of tornadoes is complicated and their understanding is still evolving. Still, they say the atmospheric conditions that give rise to such outbreaks — including rising temperatures, moisture, and wind shear — are intensifying as the planet warms.

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Aid groups mobilize to help victims of Midwest tornadoes

Disaster aid and humanitarian groups are mobilizing to help tornado victims in the U.S. Midwest and setting up dedicated fund for donations to support their efforts. The American Red Cross is making it easy to send a quick $10 donation simply by texting “REDCROSS” addressed to the number, 90999. The Salvation Army has set up a disaster relief fund for the tornado victims. World Vision plans to begin shipping relief supplies to churches in Kentucky beginning Sunday. Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear called on people to donate blood, which has been running in short supply during the pandemic.

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