Tornado Maps: Track and Satellite Imagery of Four-State Tornadoes
What may have been the nation’s deadliest December tornado outbreak ravaged parts of the Midwest and the Tennessee Valley on Friday and Saturday, devastating areas in six states.
[Live updates: Tornado kills more than 70 people in Kentucky, governor estimates]
The vicious centerpiece was a monstrous supercell that made a 250 mile path from eastern Arkansas to western Kentucky. At least 70 people have been killed in Kentucky alone.
A powerful storm system created chaos as it swept from the Rockies into Canada, triggering high winds over vast areas of the Mid-South, Midwest, and Great Lakes.
On Friday night, the storm brought a strong cold front across the area from Arkansas to southern Illinois and western Kentucky. Severe thunderstorms erupted when cold air collided with record-setting unusually warm air in the region, and these storms spawned more than 30 tornadoes.
[A warming world could add more fuel to tornadoes, scientists say]
The storm system and the front also generated very strong winds in the Great Lakes and the Ohio Valley, where hundreds of thousands of customers were without power.
The National Weather Service has received reports of more than three dozen tornadoes Friday night through Saturday morning, ranging from Illinois to Mississippi.
One collapsed into the roof of an Amazon distribution warehouse near Edwardsville, Ill., Less than 20 miles northeast of St. Louis, killing at least six people inside.
TO THE LEFT: Warehouse and Amazon building in Edwardsville, Illinois, September 24, 2021 (Satellite image © 2021 Maxar Technologies) TO THE RIGHT: Warehouse and Amazon building in Edwardsville, Illinois, December 11, 2021 (Satellite Image © 2021 Maxar Technologies / Satellite Image © 2021 Maxar Technologies)
Another damaged building on the Western Kentucky University campus in Bowling Green, where one person was killed in off-campus accommodation.
[See the damage caused by the deadly tornadoes]
In the wee hours of Saturday morning, parts of homes were badly damaged or destroyed along a road in Dickson County, Tennessee, and several people were trapped. Near Defiance, Missouri, at least one person has died from injuries from an intense tornado.
[How Friday night’s rare and deadly December tornado outbreak unfolded]
But the largest and deadliest tornado – which may have been more than one tornado spawned by the same supercell – formed in Arkansas after 7 p.m. and swept through swathes of towns and rural areas until near midnight, throwing debris over 30,000 feet into the air as it came.
One of the first places affected was Trumann, Ark. At 7:24 p.m., a tornado struck Monette, Ark., And destroyed a nursing home, killing one and injuring five.
TO THE LEFT: An aerial view of the Monette Manor nursing home in February 2021. (Satellite image © 2021 Maxar Technologies) TO THE RIGHT: An aerial view of the Monette Manor nursing home on Saturday, after a tornado swept through the area. (Satellite image © 2021 Maxar Technologies)
Shortly after, in nearby Leachville, a woman was killed inside a Dollar general store as the storm “swept over” the store’s steel frame “like an aluminum can,” he said. said Chuck Brown, business owner and lieutenant in the county sheriff’s department.
Shacks have been turned into sticks at Cypress Point on the shores of Reelfoot Lake in the small town of Samburg, Tennessee, where two people have died.
The National Weather Service in Paducah, Ky., valued that the storm was three-quarters of a mile wide as it passed through Cayce, Ky., and headed toward Mayfield.
TO THE LEFT: Houses and buildings in Mayfield, Ky., January 28, 2017. (Satellite image © 2021 Maxar Technologies) TO THE RIGHT: Damaged homes and buildings in Mayfield, Ky. On Saturday after a tornado swept through the area. (Satellite image © 2021 Maxar Technologies)
At approximately 9:30 p.m., the town of Mayfield, Ky., Was directly affected. Many buildings were razed, houses were sheared from their foundations and commercial buildings were razed, including a candle factory where dozens of workers were trapped inside when the walls and roof collapsed . Dozens of people are said to have died.
TO THE LEFT: An aerial view of the Mayfield Consumer Products candle factory in Mayfield, Ky., In January 2017. (Satellite image © 2021 Maxar Technologies) TO THE RIGHT: An aerial view of the Mayfield Consumer Products candle factory in Mayfield, Ky., Saturday. Many workers were trapped inside when the walls and roof collapsed when a tornado swept through the area. (Satellite image © 2021 Maxar Technologies)
A few minutes later, the storm hit a small town of 2,600 inhabitants on the road. “Much of Dawson Springs is gone,” Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said of his father’s hometown.
Just before 11 p.m., 27 cars on a train derailed and overturned in Earlington, Ky. A tank car would have landed 75 meters from the runway. Another car landed on a nearby house, and other houses were reduced to rubble.
At around 11 p.m., at least 11 people were killed in tornadoes in Muhlenberg County, Ky. One of them hit the city of Bremen, two hours after a small storm destroyed a hardware store, the local Chef’s News reported.
Soon after, the massive supercell stopped spinning, but storms continued to plague the area until Saturday morning.
Lauren Tierney, Chiqui Esteban, Shelly Tan, and Jason Samenow contributed to this story.
Hourly wind speed data from NOAA Global Systems Laboratory. Composite satellite of the European Space Agency. National Weather Service tornado reports and supercell locations.