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Dozens killed, more feared dead after tornadoes rip through central states

Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Dozens of people have already been confirmed dead across multiple states after tornadoes ripped across the central United States last night, and officials say they expect the death toll to rise in coming days. The destruction was greatest in Western Kentucky, where officials have stated that it's likely that more than 50 people were killed. Deaths from the massive storm system have also been confirmed in Illinois, Arkansas, Missouri, and Tennessee.

Kentucky bore the brunt of the storm's damage, where a single tornado stayed on the ground for an astounding 200 miles, leaving devastation in its wake. Additionally, "twin" tornadoes touched down outside of Bowling Green in a separate incident, according to WRDB-TV. Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear called it "some of the worst tornado dame we've seen" and cautioned that he expects the death toll to rise to over 50.

The system also spawned a tornado that caused severe damage to an Amazon distribution center in Edwardsville, Illinois, where two people have already been confirmed dead. The building reportedly collapsed around 8:30pm on Friday night with dozens of workers inside, many of whom had to be dug out of the rubble by police. As of Saturday morning, rescue workers were still sifting through the rubble to determine if anyone remains trapped inside the collapsed building.

Another tornado spawned by the system ripped the roof off a nursing home in Monette, Arkansas, killing two and injuring five.

Additional deaths attributed to the system were reported in Defiance, Missouri, west of St. Louis, after a tornado touched down there.

Additionally, three people have been reported dead in Obion County in West Tennessee, although it is not immediately clear how those individuals died.

All told, at least 30 tornadoes were reported across six states, making this one of the worst tornado destruction events in recent memory. Officials are continuing to assess damage and determine whether individuals may remain trapped or in need of rescue, and they caution that casualty counts may rise from this incident as responders continue to investigate and clear the damage.

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